• Thursday, July 25, 2024

ASIA

Nearly 100 Indians dead in extreme heat during Hajj, says government

This year, 175,000 Indians have a paid visit to Saudi for Hajj so far, the ministry of foreign affairs said.

A man affected by the scorching heat is helped by another as Muslim pilgrims arrive to perform the symbolic ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual as part of the hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on June 16, 2024. (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

NEARLY 100 Indians have perished in Saudi Arabia during Hajj this year, the Indian government on Friday (21) informed.

According to the ministry of external affairs, all 98 casualties were caused due to “natural causes”.

This year, 175,000 Indians have a paid visit to Saudi for Hajj so far, the ministry’s spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal added.

“We will do all we can for the Indians there,” the ministry said.

Around 10 nations have reported more than 1,000 deaths during the pilgrimage. The Hajj is determined by the lunar Islamic calendar, which fell this year during an intensely hot summer in Saudi Arabia.

Read: At least 550 pilgrims, mostly Egyptians, died during hajj: diplomats

The pilgrimage involves hours of walking and praying and this year, it took place even as temperature in Saudi touched nearly 52 degrees Celsius.

Read: Illegal hajj pilgrims save money but risk arrest

According to the World Health Organisation, at least half a million people are killed every year in heat but the actual figure could be up to 30 times higher.

The Indian health ministry released a document that provided a roadmap for the health services and how they could be availed by the pilgrims. The medical facilities include revising the medical screening and fitness certificate needed to assess the health and fitness of the Hajj applicants in India; providing health cards to pick pilgrims for their journey; and giving vaccines to the states for holding vaccination camps, among others.

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