98 Indians out of 1000 people died during Hajj 2024; MEA reveals death reason amid extreme heatwave

MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal during a press conference informed that 175,000 Indians visited for Hajj 2024, however, 98 of them died

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India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday confirmed that 98 Indians died during their Hajj this year in Saudi Arabia. MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal during a press conference informed that 175,000 Indians visited for Hajj 2024, however, 98 of them died. Notably, Saudi Arabia has confirmed that at least 1000 people have died in this year's Hajj from people of different countries. It is reported that a Hajj 2024 death took place due to the extreme heat that the country is witnessing. However, the Saudi administration is maintaining that people have died due to other illnesses. 

India's MEA said, "This year we have 175,000 Indians who have already visited Hajj... So far we have lost 98 of our citizens. These deaths have happened on account of natural illness, natural causes, chronic illness, and also old age. On the day of Arafat, six Indians died and four Indians died on account of accidents. Last year the figure of Indians who died in Hajj was 187.."

The Hajj pilgrimage started on June 14 and by June 20, the death toll included 58 individuals from Egypt. Among them, 630 were unregistered pilgrims out of the total 658 deaths from Egypt.

In total, around 1,081 deaths have been reported from approximately 10 countries during this year's pilgrimage. Some of the deaths were due to natural causes, while others were attributed to the extreme weather conditions, including the high temperatures in Mecca.

The Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, is mandatory for all Muslims with the means to complete it at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage's timing is determined by the lunar Islamic calendar, and this year it coincided with the extremely hot Saudi summer.

Temperatures at the Grand Mosque of Mecca soared to a maximum of 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit), exacerbating the already challenging conditions. A recent study indicated that temperatures in the area are steadily rising, posing risks to the increasing number of pilgrims, including those who attempt to perform the Hajj without official permits.

No more Hajj in Summers

Amid the extreme heat in Mecca, the Saudi National Meteorological Centre has stated that next year's pilgrimage will the last Hajj in the summer season. "The Hajj season will enter a new phase of climate change during the year 2026. We will not witness summer Hajj until after 17 years,” stated Hussein Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the Saudi National Meteorological Centre as quoted by a newswire.