Deadly Heat Challenges Hajj Pilgrims in Mecca Amid Record Temperatures

06.20.24 11:07 AM

Scorching desert sun,
Pilgrims' faith withstands the heat,
Life's trials endure.

The 2024 Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has been overshadowed by extreme heat, with temperatures reaching unprecedented levels. On June 18, temperatures soared to 52°C (126°F), causing severe health complications for many of the pilgrims. Despite efforts by Saudi authorities to mitigate the effects of the heat, including the installation of misting systems, air-conditioned tents, and the distribution of water, at least 230 pilgrims have died from heat-related issues.

The Saudi Ministry of Health reported over 2,700 cases of heat exhaustion on a single day, with pilgrims struggling to perform rituals under the scorching sun. The ministry advised pilgrims to stay hydrated, use umbrellas, and avoid outdoor activities during peak heat hours. These measures, however, were not sufficient to prevent numerous cases of heat stroke and dehydration.

The extreme conditions have been particularly challenging for elderly pilgrims and those with pre-existing health conditions. Countries like Jordan, Indonesia, and Iraq have reported several fatalities among their nationals due to heat stroke and other related issues. The Jordanian foreign ministry confirmed 14 deaths and 17 missing persons among their pilgrims.

The severe heat wave during this year's Hajj underscores the growing impact of climate change on religious and cultural events worldwide. The Saudi National Center for Meteorology has noted that temperatures during the Hajj season have been consistently rising, posing significant challenges for the millions of pilgrims who attend each year.

Referenced Articles: 2,000 hit by heat stress during Hajj, as at least 230 die from health complications | The Times of Israel Hajj pilgrimage ends amid deadly Saudi heat spike | Tribune Health Ministry Issues Heat Warning for Hajj Pilgrims, Advises Safety Measures – Mecca Times