Extreme Heat Wave Kills Over 550 Hajj Pilgrims, Temperature Soars Above 50 Degrees

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Climate Crisis, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Extreme Heat Wave Kills Over 550 Hajj Pilgrims, Temperature Soars Above 50 Degrees

In a tragic turn of events, an extreme heat wave kills 550 Hajj pilgrims in Mecca. Diplomats confirmed this big news on June 18, pointing to the severe challenges faced during the pilgrimage. The Saudi National Meteorology Center reported that temperatures soared highly and reached 51.8 degrees Celsius at the Grand Mosque on June 17.

Among the deceased, a significant number were Egyptians. Arab diplomats reported that 323 Egyptians succumbed to heat-related illnesses. This figure highlights the extreme conditions faced by the pilgrims.

heat wave kills 550 Hajj pilgrims

Record Number of Deaths Reported

The hospital morgue in Mecca’s Al-Muaisem neighborhood recorded 550 deaths. This underscores the lethal impact of the extreme weather. Jordan also reported an increase in fatalities, where the death toll rose to 60 from an earlier count of 41.

The total number of deaths from multiple countries has now reached 577, according to reports. The Al-Muaisem morgue is one of the primary sources of data on pilgrim deaths during this year’s Hajj.

Notably, Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It requires all Muslims capable of doing so to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. However, climate change has increasingly posed challenges. A recent Saudi study noted a rise in temperatures of 0.4 degrees Celsius per decade in the Hajj region.

What Measures Are Being Taken Amidst Rising Temperatures?

As the temperatures peaked at 51.8 degrees Celsius in Mecca, it worsened the conditions for the pilgrims. Egypt’s foreign ministry stated that it is working with Saudi authorities to locate missing Egyptians. The ministry acknowledged the number of deaths without giving details.

Saudi officials have treated over 2,000 pilgrims for heat-related stress. However, they have not provided specific updates on fatalities since June 16. Last year, around 240 pilgrims died, primarily among Indonesian nationals.

Journalists at Mina, near Mecca, witnessed pilgrims trying to cool themselves by pouring water over their heads. Volunteers distributed cold beverages and ice cream to help alleviate the heat.

There were advisories to use umbrellas, stay hydrated, and minimize sun exposure. However, many Hajj rituals require prolonged outdoor activities, such as prayers on Mount Arafat. Pilgrims reported seeing motionless bodies and overwhelmed ambulance services. All this clearly highlights the severe conditions in Mecca.

The Impact Of Climate Change On Hajj

This year, around 1.8 million pilgrims participated in the Hajj, 1.6 million of whom travelled from abroad. The event showcased a concerning situation during this year’s pilgrimage. Now, there’s an important need to ensure the safety of all participants.

The increasing temperatures during the Hajj highlight the broader issue of climate change. The increase in temperatures in the region is making the pilgrimage increasingly difficult. Saudi studies show a consistent increase in temperatures, further adding to the difficulty of performing Hajj rituals.

As the heat wave kills 550 Hajj pilgrims in Mecca, it’s a concerning situation. This underscores the urgent need for better preparations and safety measures. The tragedy calls for a re-evaluation of the current practices. This will help ensure the safety of all pilgrims during the changing climate conditions.

Also Read: Severe Heat Wave In Delhi Kills 5 After Hottest Night In Six Years


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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