Heatwave of Saudi Arabia Leads to Countless Deaths During Hajj

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Lives Lost During the Crises 

More than 1,300 people have succumbed to the extreme heatwave of Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimage that is held annually. Even after being warned by the health ministry of Saudi Arabia about the extreme conditions, who cautioned them to stay hydrated, the pilgrims were still affected gravely by the heatstroke. 

What is the Hajj? 

In Islam, Hajj is the religious journey of pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Being one of the five pillars of Islam, Hajj is a mandatory ritual for an adult Muslim to fulfillin his or her lifetime. It takes place in the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar, lasting up to roughly six days. The Hajj is undertaken by around two million people and is said to erase any previous worldly sins for which a person is held accountable. 

Lives of Indians Also Affected 

In the misfortunate event, 98 Indians have also been proclaimed dead, as reported by the Indian Government. The pilgrimage Hajj, is by no means restricted to only Muslims. Nonetheless, Muslims are the only ones allowed to pass through the city of Makkah, and non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the Nawabi Square. 

Mismanagement by the Authorities?

In a recent report, it was brought to light that many of the deceased included pilgrims who were unregistered and had participated in the Hajj through irregular means. This led to them falling victim to the extreme heat conditions as they did not have access to tents and buses with proper air conditioning. In addition to this, there have also been reports of overcrowding in tents and inconvenient roadblocks. 

The Temperatures Rise Astronomically 

In 1999, over 1.8 million people attended the Hajj. In 2009, the numbers were around 2.3 million, in 2012, over 3.1 million. Pilgrims have to walk approximately 5 kilometers – 16 kilometers per day. However undergoing this process in extreme heat conditions proved to be extremely dangerous and fatal. There has been reportedly a 1.5C rise in temperatures globally, and this could increase the risk of heatstroke during the period of Hajj up to five times.

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