Hajj 2024 Deaths Top 1,000 Amid Brutal Saudi Heatwave

Hajj 2024 Deaths Top 1,000 Amid Brutal Saudi Heatwave
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Tragedy struck the 2024 Hajj pil­grim­age in Sau­di Ara­bia as scorch­ing tem­per­a­tures exceed­ing 50°C (122°F) claimed the lives of over 1,000 pil­grims. Reports indi­cate unreg­is­tered pil­grims, lack­ing access to air-con­di­tioned facil­i­ties and aid, suf­fered the most sig­nif­i­cant casualties.

A British Imam, wit­ness­ing the pil­grims’ strug­gles first­hand, described the scenes as “har­row­ing.” The extreme heat made walk­ing even short dis­tances near­ly impos­si­ble, with many seek­ing refuge in hotel lob­bies and rely­ing on bystanders’ gen­eros­i­ty for water and towels.

Hajj 2024 man rescued by military

Crit­i­cism has mount­ed against Sau­di author­i­ties for not effec­tive­ly man­ag­ing pil­grim­age num­bers. With ris­ing tem­per­a­tures due to cli­mate change, the Imam urged offi­cials to “start think­ing about con­trol­ling” par­tic­i­pant quotas.

The Hajj, attract­ing around 1.8 mil­lion pil­grims this year (1.6 mil­lion inter­na­tion­al), is the world’s largest Mus­lim gath­er­ing. Sad­ly, this isn’t the first dead­ly inci­dent dur­ing Hajj. Past years wit­nessed stam­pedes and crane col­laps­es result­ing in thou­sands of fatalities.

a man laying on the ground

As the cli­mate cri­sis inten­si­fies, Sau­di author­i­ties must take sig­nif­i­cant steps to safe­guard the mil­lions under­tak­ing the annu­al Hajj pil­grim­age to Mec­ca. Fail­ure to address these con­cerns could have even more dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences in the future.

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