Jordanian pilgrims die of heatstroke throughout Hajj pilgrimage | EUROtoday

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At least six Jordanian pilgrims have died of heatstroke whereas on the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry stated Sunday, amid rising concern over the dangers that rising temperatures pose to one of many largest gatherings on the planet.

Temperatures in Mecca, residence to Islam’s holiest web site, reached 120 levels Fahrenheit (49 levels Celsius) on Sunday, in response to the National Center for Meteorology. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry later up to date the toll to 14, although it was not instantly clear whether or not the extra deaths have been additionally heat-related.

More than 2,700 instances of warmth stress and sunstroke amongst pilgrims have been reported, Mohammed Al-Abdulaali, a spokesman for the Saudi Health Ministry, stated Monday, in response to the Saudi Press Agency.

Hajj is without doubt one of the 5 pillars of Islam, and no less than one pilgrimage in a lifetime is taken into account an obligation for all Muslims who’re able-bodied and have the monetary means. Most rituals are outdoor, together with strolling in circles across the cube-shaped Kaaba, essentially the most sacred Islamic web site, saying prayers going through it and tracing the footsteps of the prophet Muhammad atop the Mount of Mercy.

This 12 months’s Hajj is being attended by 1.8 million individuals from world wide, native authorities have stated. The pilgrimage started on Friday and is ready to culminate Wednesday. Islam follows the lunar calendar, with 354 days, so Hajj shifts by 10 or 11 days yearly on the Gregorian calendar.

Increasing warmth and humidity on account of local weather change in components of Saudi Arabia the place the Hajj takes place might make the pilgrimage harmful for some, a examine revealed in 2019 stated. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles stated the dangers could possibly be severe when Hajj happens throughout the hottest summer time months — from 2047 to 2052 and from 2079 to 2086.

“While this is a truly tragic situation, it unfortunately does not come as a surprise except for perhaps that such events are occurring sooner than expected,” Jeremy Pal, one of many authors of the 2019 examine, wrote in an e mail Monday, including that the Hajj’s shift earlier and earlier every year means the pilgrimage ought to no less than be capable to keep away from the window of extraordinarily harmful situations for the following couple of a long time.

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Thousands of instances of warmth stress have been reported throughout final 12 months’s Hajj, which fell in late June.

Besides protecting countermeasures, the researchers suggest limiting the variety of pilgrims and prioritizing these in good well being throughout the high-risk years. (During the coronavirus pandemic in 2021, Saudi Arabia restricted the participation to pilgrims underneath 65 and capped the gathering at 60,000 individuals.)

In 2050, Mecca can have 182 days with extremely harmful warmth above 89.6 levels within the solar and 54 days with such warmth within the shade, in response to a worldwide evaluation by The Washington Post.

Saudi Arabia has been attempting to adapt to the fast-changing state of affairs. It arms out chilly water to pilgrims, it has put in giant umbrellas with mist followers, and it has arrange devoted hospitals to deal with heat-related sicknesses.

The nation’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has additionally really useful measures that pilgrims can take to keep away from heatstroke, together with minimizing solar publicity and ingesting fluids.

Pal, now on the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change in Italy, stated that these measures are required and that underneath sure situations, “even those not falling in the high-risk categories” could be susceptible to heatstroke.

The problem from surging warmth is world. Dozens of heat-related deaths have been reported this summer time from India, the place temperatures have surged to 120 levels and nights stay over 90 in components of the nation. In Greece, authorities are involved as vacationers have gone lacking amid the excessive temperatures sweeping the nation. And on Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a warmth look ahead to components of the United States, predicting a “prolonged period of dangerously hot conditions” with “intense heat and high humidity.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/17/hajj-pilgrimage-deaths-heatstroke/