Hajj pilgrimage: At least 14 Jordanian pilgrims died in extreme heat

This week, temperatures hit 46 degrees Celsius, making many outdoor and on-foot routines difficult, particularly for the elderly.
Hajj pilgrimage: At least 14 Jordanian pilgrims died in extreme heat

According to Jordan's foreign ministry, 14 of its citizens perished "after suffering sun stroke due to the extreme heat wave" and another 17 were reported missing.

The search for the missing people are ongoing, say Jordanian officials.. In a statement, the Jordanian foreign ministry said it was coordinating with Saudi officials on protocols for burying or transporting the deceased's bodies in considering their families' wishes.

The hajj is one of the world's largest mass gatherings. Saudi officials report more than 1.8 million pilgrims will take part this year. However, it has a history of fatal disasters, including stampedes and tent fires. In recent years, extreme heat has become problematic.

This week, temperatures hit 46 degrees Celsius, making many outdoor and on-foot routines difficult, particularly for the elderly.

Ayman Ghulam, the head of Saudi national meteorology centre, warned last week that "the expected climate for Hajj this year will witness an increase in average temperatures of 1.5 to 2 degrees [Celsius] above normal in Mecca and Medina," - two cities at the heart of the five-day Hajj journey.

A health clinic near Mount Arafat recorded 225 cases of heat stress, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The pilgrimage is set to finish on Wednesday.

Saudi officials claim that as part of their heat reduction efforts, they have established numerous climate-controlled areas. They provide water and give pilgrims advice on how to protect themselves from the sun.

The Saudi health ministry also issued an advisory, urging pilgrims to remain hydrated and avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the day, between 10:00 and 16:00.

Approximately 240 people died last year. In 2015, almost 2,000 pilgrims were killed in a deadly crush.

Hajj pilgrimage: At least 14 Jordanian pilgrims died in extreme heat

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