Nearly 500 Confirmed Fatalities From ‘Hajj Heatwave’ In Middle East

TOPSHOT - A departing Turkish Muslim pilgrim pours cold water from a bottle on his head to cool off as he waits in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on June 20, 2024. (Photo by Abdel Ghani BASHIR / AFP) (Photo by ABDEL GHANI BASHIR/AFP via Getty Images)
A departing Turkish Muslim pilgrim pours cold water from a bottle on his head to cool off as he waits in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on June 20, 2024. (Photo by ABDEL GHANI BASHIR/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
3:00 PM – Friday, June 21, 2024

Hundreds of people in the Middle East have died after a severe heat wave hit the region.


The official death toll from this year’s Hajj pilgrimage has soared close to 500 and the true death toll could be even higher after over 600 Muslim worshipers reported feeling ill while en route to Mecca.

At least 14 Malaysians, 165 Indonesians, 68 Jordanians, 35 Pakistanis, 35 Tunisians, 11 Iranians, and 98 Indians have died, according to foreign authorities.

Additionally, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry reported that 22 Jordanians are currently hospitalized and at least 16 are still missing. 

Meanwhile, dozens of Iranians have also been hospitalized due to heatstroke and other related conditions, the Iranian Red Crescent announced on Wednesday. 

According to CNN, the tally brings the latest official death toll for this year’s pilgrimage to at least 460. The death numbers are expected to increase, as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have yet to release official figures. 

The pilgrims reportedly made their trek in 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 

According to Egypt’s president, the crisis unit will be headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and will “provide support for families of the deceased.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisihas also instructed the unit on “speedy coordination with Saudi Arabian authorities to facilitate the return of the bodies” of those who died, the statement added. 

The official number of dead Egyptians currently stands at 28, according to an Egyptian cabinet statement Thursday. Officials in the country have been visiting medical centers in order to obtain additional information about its hospitalized citizens and to account for those who have passed away. 

“There are large numbers of Egyptian citizens who are not registered in hajj databases, which requires double the effort and a longer time to search for missing people and find their relatives,” the cabinet said.

Hajj is one of the main pillars of Islam. Muslims that are able to afford it and are physically able are required to take part in it at least once in their life. It’s one of the biggest annual religious gatherings in the world, and over 1.8 million pilgrims were expected to take part in this year’s hajj, according to Saudi officials. 

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