Intense heat forces Saudi Arabia government to suspend devil stoning in Jamrat

The intense heat being experienced at the ongoing pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has forced the authorities to impose a temporary ban on visiting Jamrat between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., as record showed that the number of heat-related deaths has surged in the past 48 hours.

Penpushing reports that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in a statement released and shared by the Nigerian Hajj Commission (NAHCON) in Muna, on Monday, the ban prompted the precautionary measure to ensure the safety of pilgrims.

‘By the directives of His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah, and to ensure the well-being of pilgrims amidst high temperatures and to prevent heat stress, pilgrims are prohibited from proceeding to the Jamrat Bridge for the ritual of throwing stones from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m’, the statement said

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“Security personnel will be stationed at camps to enforce this restriction and prevent any pilgrim from departing before 4 p.m. The Office of Hajj Affairs and service providers are tasked with ensuring compliance, and they will bear responsibility for any violations thereof. We pray for Allah’s protection over the pilgrims and the acceptance of their Hajj’, the statement added.

Penpushing further reports that in a warning issued out by the head of the Saudi National Meteorology Centre, Ayman Ghulam pointed out that the expected climate for Hajj this year will witness an increase in average temperatures of 1.5 to 2 degrees [Celsius] above normal in Mecca and Medina.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported, however, said a treatment centre near Mount Arafat recorded 225 cases of heat stress, while in similar vein, Jordan’s foreign ministry, confirmed 14 of its nationals have died after suffering sunstroke due to the extreme heat wave and a further 17 have been reported missing.

Penpushing also reports that a source, also disclosed that Iranian Red Crescent confirmed that five Iranian pilgrims had also lost their lives, but did not specify how they died, while it was reported that no Nigerian pilgrim has been reported to have succumbed to the extreme heat in Muna.

The Nigerian Hajj Commission had earlier reported that four pilgrims had passed away due to underlying illnesses, and equally urged Nigerian pilgrims to stay indoors in their camps in Muna, Saudi Arabia, to avoid falling victim to the ongoing heatwave and potential heatstroke.

Penpushing reports that the Jamrat stoning is a symbolic ritual that marks the final stage of the Hajj, while on the first day of devil stoning, pilgrims march from Muzdalifah to Jamrat, where they will camp in Mina, and this ritual is repeated on the second and third days, culminating in the conclusion of the Hajj rites.

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