98 Indians died due to natural causes during ongoing Haj pilgrimage: MEA

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday that 98 Indians died due to natural causes and accidents during this year’s Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Last weekend, over 175,000 pilgrims from India converged on sacred Mount Arafat outside Mecca to offer their prayers during the pilgrimage.

“Each year we have a large numbers of Indians visiting Haj for pilgrimage. This year, we have had around 1,75,000 Indians who have visited Haj. The core Haj period is from May 9 to July 22,” said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal during a weekly media briefing in New Delhi on Friday.

“So far, we have lost 98 of our citizens. These deaths have happened due to illness, natural causes, chronic illness and old age. On the day of Arafat, six Indians died and four Indians have died on account of accidents. Last year, 187 Indians died during Haj,” he added.

It is believed that several hundred people from various countries have died due to the intense heat during this year’s pilgrimage.

Amid unconfirmed reports of hundreds of Egyptians passing away during the Haj, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry stated on Thursday that it has deployed its consular teams in Mecca to visit hospitals and find missing citizens.

Similarly, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry also said earlier this week that dozens of pilgrims from the country have lost their lives during this year’s pilgrimage.

India had provided 24-hour support, including medical care through dispensaries, ambulances, healthcare on the go with doctors/paramedics providing requisite services on foot as per requirement, support for guiding pilgrims, tracing lost pilgrims, care for those with mobility issues, to its nationals undertaking the pilgrimage.

On June 18, the Indian Haj Mission said that it has provided necessary assistance to more than 100 pilgrims by reuniting them with their families during this year’s pilgrimage.

The Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, Dr Suhel Ajaz Khan and the Consul General of India in Jeddah, Shahid Alam have also been visiting various camps to interact with the Indian Haj pilgrims and take their feedback on the services provided to them besides taking stock of their overall well-being.

–IANS

as/rad

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