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Hajj heat wave deaths underscore climate threat for most vulnerable

DUBAI - The effects of a deadly heat wave during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia this month were made worse by the lack of accommodations and other services such as cooling centers for those who traveled there without proper permits, witnesses and media reports said.

Temperatures in the holy city of Mecca topped 125 degrees Fahrenheit during the five-day pilgrimage that started June 14, according to the Saudi meteorological center. On Sunday, Saudi Health Minister Fahd Al-Jalajel told local media that 1,301 deaths had been reported and that 83 percent of those people were unregistered pilgrims. At least 600 were from Egypt, according to diplomats who spoke to Agence France-Presse and other news agencies.

The Hajj is normally a source of prestige for the Saudi government. Saudi authorities said about 1.8 million pilgrims made the journey, which is one of the five central tenets of Islam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/23/hajj-heat-saudi-arabia-pilgrims/

 

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