Fourteen Jordanians die during haj in Saudi Arabia, some succumb to heat

  • World
  • Sunday, 16 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Muslim pilgrims cast their stones at a pillar symbolising Satan, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia, June 16, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Torokman/File Photo

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CAIRO (Reuters) -Fourteen Jordanians have been reported dead during the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, some of them due to heat stroke, while 17 others were reported missing, the Jordanian foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

At least six of the fatalities were heat related, the ministry said on Saturday, with temperatures predicted to reach 47 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit) in Mecca on Monday.

It didn't specify on Sunday whether the higher death toll was also due to the heat.

The haj, which will end on Wednesday, is one of the largest mass gatherings in the world, with more than 1.8 million pilgrims expected to take part this year, according to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.

Stampedes, tent fires, heat and other factors have caused hundreds of deaths at the event over the past 30 years.

The Saudi health ministry issued an advisory on Thursday warning of soaring temperatures and advising pilgrims to stay hydrated and avoid being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day between 11 a.m. (0800 GMT) and 3 p.m.

The Jordanian foreign ministry was coordinating with Saudi authorities on procedures to bury or transport the bodies of the deceased according to their family's wishes, it said on Sunday.

In 2015, a deadly crush at the haj near Mecca killed at least 2,070 people, according to a Reuters tally at the time.

(Reporting by Jaidaa Taha and Pesha MagidEditing by Bernadette Baum)

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