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Hajj Death Toll Surpasses 900 Amid Scorching Heat

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, a sacred journey for Muslims around the world, has been marred by tragedy as the death toll climbs past 900. The pilgrimage, which took place under the scorching heat of the Saudi Arabian summer, saw temperatures soar to a blistering 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

Friends and families of the pilgrims are desperately searching for their missing loved ones, scouring hospitals and utilizing social media platforms to plead for any information about their whereabouts. The fear and anxiety are palpable as many fear the worst, given the extreme weather conditions and the sheer number of elderly and infirm individuals who participated in the pilgrimage.

This year’s Hajj drew approximately 1.8 million people from across the globe, all converging on Mecca to fulfill their religious obligations. However, the pilgrimage, which involves a series of physically demanding rituals performed mostly outdoors, proved to be particularly challenging due to the oppressive heat.

Reports indicate that the death toll among Egyptian pilgrims alone has tragically reached at least 600, with many succumbing to heat-related illnesses. The overall death toll, based on figures released by various countries, has now surpassed 922, painting a grim picture of the pilgrimage’s devastating consequences.

One heartbreaking story is that of Mabrouka bint Salem Shushana, a Tunisian pilgrim in her early 70s, who has been missing since the climax of the pilgrimage at Mount Arafat on Saturday. Her husband, Mohammed, shared the distressing details of her disappearance, revealing that she was unregistered and lacked an official Hajj permit, preventing her from accessing air-conditioned facilities crucial for escaping the sweltering heat.

Social media platforms have become inundated with images of missing pilgrims and desperate pleas for assistance in locating them. Among those anxiously awaiting news are the family and friends of Ghada Mahmoud Ahmed Dawood, an Egyptian pilgrim who has been unaccounted for since Saturday. A family friend based in Saudi Arabia expressed the anguish felt by loved ones, emphasizing the hope they cling to as her name has not yet appeared on the list of the deceased.

As the search for the missing continues, the tragedy of the Hajj pilgrimage serves as a somber reminder of the challenges posed by extreme weather events and the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants. The global Muslim community mourns the loss of those who perished during this sacred journey while offering prayers and support for the families affected by this devastating event.

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