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41 Jordanian pilgrims die of heat exhaustion during Hajj - Foreign Ministry

‘84 pilgrims of 106 reported missing have been found’

By JT - Jun 19,2024 - Last updated at Jun 19,2024

An aerial view shows Mecca's Grand Mosque with the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site in the centre on June 17, 2024, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage (AFP)

AMMAN — The Directorate of Operations and Consular Affairs at the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the search for missing pilgrims was still underway, while 41 burial permits have been issued for the dead pilgrims reported so far. 

The number of Jordanian pilgrims, who died of heat exhaustion while performing Hajj, has so far reached 41, according to the ministry.

The ministry said in a statement that it was facilitating the transfer of the bodies of those whose families wish to bring them back to the Kingdom at the expense of the government.

Sufian Qudah, the ministry’s spokesperson, said that a team from the Jordanian consulate general in Jeddah, part of the crisis cell formed by the ministry, has issued 41 burial permits for Jordanian pilgrims to be buried in Mecca according to the wishes of their families. None of these pilgrims were part of the official Jordanian Hajj delegation, he said. 

Qudah stressed that the crisis cell operates around the clock in coordination with the consulate general in Jeddah, the embassy in Riyadh, and the Ministry of Awqaf, and is following up on the burial procedures for the Jordanian pilgrims who passed away due to heatstroke during the intense heatwave. 

The cell also continues the search for missing pilgrims and ensuring their prompt return to the Kingdom, he said. 

He emphasised that the directorate is in constant contact with the families of the deceased and missing Jordanian pilgrims. “The consulate team in Mecca visits the injured in hospitals to check on their condition.”

Another ministry statement, issued later on Tuesday, said that 84 out of 106 pilgrims who had been reported missing were found but some of them in critical health condition.

Qudah noted that search for the other 22 Jordanian pilgrims was still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Jordanian pilgrims who performed the Hajj but outside the Jordanian official delegation told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity that the exhaustion was because the “unofficial” pilgrims had no buses to transport them from the Grand Mosque of Mecca to Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, where there were no tents to host them at least for some hours to rest. 

“We had to walk for tens of kilometres under the boiling sun,” a pilgrim, who went to Saudi Arabia under a tourist visa and stayed in Mecca to perform Hajj, said.

The Ministry of Awqaf said that the number of Jordanian pilgrims, who performed Hajj under the official delegation has reached 8,450.

It said that members of the delegation undergo regular medical check-ups and enjoy accommodation and transportation services in Mecca and all holy sites.

Qudah renewed his call to all Jordanians performing Hajj and their families to contact the directorate for assistance, report missing persons, or arrange the repatriation of bodies in case of death around the clock, using the following numbers: Directorate of Operations and Consular Affairs: 00962795497777, emergency line in Jeddah: 00966501784611, or via the directorate's email: [email protected].

Families can also visit the directorate around the clock.

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