14 Jordanian pilgrims dead, 17 missing during haj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia

14 Jordanian pilgrims were reported dead and 17 others were reported missing during the annual Muslim haj in Saudi Arabia, according to the Jordanian foreign ministry which released a statement Sunday.

The ministry stated on Saturday that at least six of the fatalities were caused by heat stroke. It did not specify whether the higher death toll released Sunday was due to heat, per Reuters, however temperatures were predicted to reach 47 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit) in Mecca on Monday.

1.8 million pilgrims were expected to take part in the haj this year, according to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics. The event will end on Wednesday. Over the past 3 decades, the haj has been plagued with stampedes, tent fires, and heat, leaving hundreds dead. Notably, a deadly crush killed 2,070 people in 2015, according to a Reuters tally at the time.

The Jordanian foreign ministry has said it has been in contact with Saudi authorities to coordinate burials or transport of the bodies according to the deceased's family's wishes. The Saudi health ministry had issued a heat advisory last Thursday advising the haj participants to avoid being outdoors between 11 am and 3 pm local time and to stay hydrated.

Image: Title: haj


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