Most pilgrims who died during Hajj lacked official permits

Fatalities included those on visit or tourist visas


APP June 20, 2024

Officials from multiple countries have confirmed that most of the pilgrims who passed away during Hajj 1445 were individuals who had entered Saudi Arabia on tourism or visit visas months before the commencement of the pilgrimage.

These individuals stayed in Makkah and performed Hajj without proper authorisation and support. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Migration, and Tunisians Abroad reported that most of the deceased Tunisian pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia using tourism, visit, or Umrah visas. They lacked official Hajj permits and were not associated with any organised group providing essential services such as accommodation, food, or transportation.

Similarly, Dr Sufyan Qudah, Director of Operations and Consular Affairs at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, stated that all the Jordanian pilgrims who either died or went missing were not part of the official Jordanian Hajj delegation. They too had entered Saudi Arabia on tourism or visit visas, circumventing the formal Hajj authorisation process.

This year’s Hajj season was marked by an extreme heatwave in Makkah, compounding the hardships faced by unauthorised pilgrims. Without the logistical support provided to official pilgrims, these individuals were left to navigate the demanding conditions on their own.

Many travelled long distances on foot under the scorching sun, traversing rugged and unpaved paths not intended for pedestrian use. The lack of shelter and sustenance exacerbated the risks of exhaustion and other heat-related ailments.

The absence of organised support left these pilgrims vulnerable to the harsh environment, leading to many fatalities.

Family and friends searched desperately for missing Hajj pilgrims on Wednesday, as the death toll from the pilgrimage, held in extreme heat, surpassed 900.

Temperatures in Mecca reached 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) on Monday, causing widespread fatalities among the 1.8 million participants, many of whom were elderly and frail.

An Arab diplomat reported that deaths among Egyptians had risen to at least 600, with the total reported deaths now at 922. Egyptian officials in Saudi Arabia have received 1,400 reports of missing pilgrims.

A second Arab diplomat reported that Jordanian officials were searching for 20 missing pilgrims, while 80 initially reported missing were found in hospitals. An Asian diplomat mentioned around 68 dead from India, with more still missing.

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