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Nigeria loses pilgrim to extreme heat in Saudi

A Nigerian pilgrim who was on his way to Jamarāt to perform the ritual of throwing stones, has collapsed and eventually died of heat stroke.

Head of Nigeria’s Medical Team for the 2024 Hajj, Dr. Abubakar Adamu, confirmed this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had, around 11a.m., stopped pilgrims from proceeding to the Jamarāt Bridge for the ritual of throwing stones from 11a.m. to 4p.m. due to excessive heat.

The pilgrims were cautioned against flouting Saudi authorities’ directive that prohibit them from the ritual of throwing stones within the stipulated time.

Adamu said, ”Even before the commencement of this year’s hajj operation, we have been educating and sensitising members of the medical team on how to prevent heat stroke that could arise from heatwave.”

He advised pilgrims to use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, adding that they should always seek shade from direct sunlight whenever possible.

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Adamu also empahaised the need for pilgrims to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, even if they do not feel thirsty.

”Pilgrims are also advised to pay close attention to all health advisories and instructions provided by the medical team.

”To limit sun exposure, pilgrims should avoid going outside during peak heat. They should also refrain from walking in the sun.”

Also, the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, NAHCON, Mrs. Fatima Usara, said that the commission had been doing its best to educate the pilgrims, about the risk factors associated with exposing themselves to sun.

Also, Dr. Kabir Moha, said at least 14 Jordanian pilgrims have died while on the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia as temperatures soar in the kingdom.

Jordan’s foreign ministry said, “14 Jordanian pilgrims died and 17 others were missing” during the performance of hajj rituals.

It said its nationals had died “after suffering sun stroke due to the extreme heatwave” and that it had coordinated with Saudi authorities to bury the dead in Saudi Arabia, or transfer them to Jordan.

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The Iranian Red Crescent chief, Pir Hossein Kolivand, said “five Iranian pilgrims have lost their lives so far in Mecca and Medina during the hajj this year”, but did not say how they died.

Mohammed Al-Abdulaali, a spokesperson for the Saudi health ministry, told reporters that more than 2,760 pilgrims suffered from sunstroke and heat stress on Sunday alone. Saudi Arabia has not provided any information on fatalities.

The heat reached 47C (116.6F) in Mecca on Sunday, a temperature that was forecast to continue on Monday. (NAN)

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