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Over 1,300 fatalities reported during Hajj this year

Over 1,300 fatalities reported during Hajj this year

This year's Hajj pilgrimage witnessed more than 1,300 deaths, primarily due to prolonged exposure to intense sunlight, with 83 per cent of the victims being unauthorized pilgrims, according to Saudi Health Minister Fahd Al-Jalajel. The deceased included many elderly and individuals with chronic illnesses.

Minister Al-Jalajel highlighted the exhaustive measures Saudi authorities took to educate on the perils of heat stress and the critical importance of preventative actions. Despite these efforts, the pilgrimage was marred by the high fatality rate.

He expressed deep condolences to the families of the deceased, noting that all necessary formalities, such as identification and burial, were meticulously handled.

The Saudi health system managed over 465,000 health interventions during the event, including specialized treatment for 141,000 unauthorized pilgrims. Minister Al-Jalajel commended the seamless collaboration between health services and Hajj security forces, which prevented any outbreaks of epidemics or significant diseases.

Additionally, the health ministry provided extensive healthcare services, ranging from open-heart surgeries and dialysis to emergency care, totalling over 30,000 ambulance deployments, including 95 air ambulance operations. The healthcare infrastructure was also significantly reinforced, with nearly 6,500 beds and rooms prepared for pilgrims.

The minister also noted the proactive health measures initiated before the pilgrims' arrival, with about 1.3 million preventive services delivered at various entry points into the country. These services included early detection screenings, vaccinations and initial medical treatments, enhancing the safety and health of the pilgrims.

Preparing for the harsh climatic conditions, innovative devices were introduced to rapidly assist those affected by heat stress, showcasing the health system's preparedness and capability to manage severe weather challenges during such large-scale gatherings.

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