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MEA confirms 98 Indians died during annual Haj pilgrimage this year due to natural causes
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

MEA confirms 98 Indians died during annual Haj pilgrimage this year due to natural causes

| @indiablooms | 22 Jun 2024, 10:14 am

The Indian External Affairs Ministry has said 98 Indians have died during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year.

Pilgrims struggled due to extreme heat during the Haj pilgrimage this year.

Addressing a media briefing, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said: "This year, 1,75,000 Indian pilgrims have visited Haj so far."

"The core Haj period is from, I think, May 9th to 22nd of July. So far, we have lost or there are 98 Indian pilgrims who have died in Haj," he said.

Speaking on the possible cause of death, he said: "The core Haj period is from 9th May to 22nd of July and so far we have lost 98 of our citizens. These deaths have happened on account of natural illness, natural causes, chronic illness, as also old age. On the day of Arafat, 6 Indians died and 4 Indians have died on account of accidents. I would also like to tell you that last year, the figure of Indians who died in Haj was 187."

The holy pilgrimage this year began with people struggling with high temperatures to complete their journey.

Thousands more have been treated for heatstroke after an estimated crowd of 1.8 million Muslims contended with the high temperatures, reported CNN.

The Saudi government was quoted as saying by the American news channel on Monday that more than 2,700 people had been treated for heatstroke.

As per the Saudi General Authority for Statistics,  more than 1.8 million people participated in the Haj pilgrimage this year.

Haj is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

The Haj pilgrimage timing changes every year with the Islamic calendar and this year it coincided with June, a month considered to be one of the hottest in Saudi Arabia.

Hajj officials asked pilgrims to carry umbrellas and stay hydrated amid the harsh conditions while the Saudi army deployed more than 1,600 personnel with medical units specifically for heatstroke and 30 rapid response teams. Another 5,000 health and first aid volunteers took part, reported CNN.

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