Saturday, 20 July 2024

Extreme Heat Claims Over 550 Lives During 2024 Hajj Pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

  • Over 550 pilgrims died during the 2024 Hajj due to extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 51.8°C in Mecca.
  • The majority of fatalities were Egyptian pilgrims, alongside significant deaths from Jordan and Iran.
  • Saudi health authorities treated over 2,000 for heat stress but denied significant heat-related deaths, attributing fatalities to pre-existing conditions.

The 2024 Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia faced severe challenges due to extreme heat, with temperatures soaring to 51.8°C in Mecca. Over 550 pilgrims, primarily from Egypt, Jordan, and Iran, succumbed to heat-related issues, highlighting the increasing dangers posed by climate change during the annual event.

Blistering Heat During 2024 Hajj Results in Over 550 Deaths

Despite media reports and diplomatic confirmations of the deaths, Saudi Arabia’s health ministry denied significant heat-related fatalities, attributing them to pre-existing health conditions among the pilgrims. The ministry also reported treating over 2,000 individuals for heat stress, emphasizing the critical need for enhanced safety measures.

Egyptian officials confirmed that 323 of their nationals died from heat-related illnesses. Jordan also reported a significant increase in fatalities, raising concerns about the safety measures in place for pilgrims during such extreme weather conditions.

Saudi Arabia’s health ministry, however, disputed the reports of heat-related deaths, attributing the fatalities to pre-existing health conditions among the pilgrims. Despite the high number of heat stress treatments administered, the ministry maintained that the deaths were not significantly linked to the extreme temperatures.

The rising temperatures during the Hajj have become a growing concern, with studies showing a gradual increase in heat over the decades. This trend calls for urgent improvements in safety protocols to protect future pilgrims from the escalating heat risks associated with climate change.

The increasing heat during the Hajj pilgrimage, as evidenced by the tragic deaths in 2024, highlights the urgent need for enhanced safety measures and infrastructure improvements. Addressing the impacts of climate change is crucial to ensure the well-being of future pilgrims, preventing such devastating losses in the years to come.

“The tragic deaths during the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage underscore the urgent need for enhanced safety measures to combat the escalating heat risks posed by climate change.”

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