Witnesses tell CNN that lack of medics led to deaths during Hajj pilgrimage as toll rises

Hajj Pilgrimage Challenges

Two pilgrims recently returned from the Hajj pilgrimage shared their concerns with CNN, highlighting the lack of sufficient medical support and basic facilities to protect pilgrims from the extreme heat in Saudi Arabia. Witness accounts described a distressing scene of worshipers losing consciousness and walking past covered bodies during the religious event.

Concerns Over Death Toll

The official death toll from this year’s Hajj pilgrimage has reached nearly 500, with expectations of further increase. Each country has been independently reporting the deaths of their nationals, but the actual numbers might be higher due to unregistered pilgrims. The extreme weather conditions during this year’s pilgrimage, with soaring temperatures, have exacerbated the situation.

Pilgrim Testimonials

Zirrar Ali and Ahmad, two witnesses, shared their experiences with CNN, pointing out the lack of water, shade, and medical assistance for Hajj pilgrims. Ali expressed his concern over the overwhelming number of people and insufficient medical staff, leading to frequent cases of people passing out. Ahmad also witnessed many pilgrims falling ill or losing their lives due to the heat, highlighting the dire need for better infrastructure and organization.

Infrastructure Concerns

The poor infrastructure and organization of this year’s pilgrimage, especially for independent travelers, have been criticized by pilgrims like Ali and Ahmad. Licensed tour groups provide better amenities, including air-conditioned buses and easy access to supplies, compared to unlicensed pilgrims who face challenges during the Hajj experience.

Challenges Faced by Pilgrims

Despite the requirements for licenses to access Mecca, some pilgrims face hardships, such as long hours of outdoor walking in extreme heat. Ali mentioned the need for more support from the Saudi government to ensure the well-being of all pilgrims, especially during challenging circumstances.

Blessing in Mecca

The daughter of an elderly Indonesian man who passed away during the Hajj pilgrimage expressed her family’s gratitude for his burial in the Islamic holy city of Mecca. Dying and being buried in Mecca is considered a blessing in Islamic belief, with many Muslims traveling there in their old age after years of saving for the pilgrimage.

High Temperatures at Hajj

This year’s Hajj pilgrimage took place amid unusually high temperatures, causing concerns for the well-being of the participants. With over 1.8 million people attending the pilgrimage, the Saudi General Authority for Statistics reported it as one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

Read More of this Story at www.cnn.com – 2024-06-23 08:02:00

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