At least 550 pilgrims died due to intense heat during hajj, diplomats say

Diplomats on Tuesday said at least 550 pilgrims died during the hajj, underscoring the gruelling nature of the pilgrimage which again unfolded in scorching temperatures this year.

At least 323 of those who died were Egyptians, most of them succumbing to heat-related illnesses, two Arab diplomats coordinating their countries' responses told AFP.

"All of them (the Egyptians) died because of heat" except for one who sustained fatal injuries during a minor crowd crush, one of the diplomats said, adding the total figure came from the hospital morgue in the Al-Muaisem neighbourhood of Mecca.

At least 60 Jordanians also died, the diplomats said, up from an official tally of 41 given earlier on Tuesday by Amman.

The new deaths bring the total reported so far by multiple countries to 577, according to an AFP tally.

The diplomats said the total at the morgue in Al-Muaisem, one of the biggest in Mecca, was 550.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims with the means must complete it at least once.

Temperatures hit 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Monday, the Saudi national meteorology centre said.

Heat stress

While a ministry statement said "a certain number of deaths" had occurred, it did not specify whether Egyptians were among them.


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