28 Registered Egyptian Pilgrims Confirmed Dead During Haj In Saudi Arabia

(MENAFN- IANS) Cairo, June 21 (IANS) Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that 28 deaths were confirmed among the 50,752 officially registered Egyptian pilgrims during Haj in Saudi Arabia's Mecca.

In a cabinet statement, Madbouly said that he was tasked by the President to lead an interdepartmental crisis unit to "provide support and assistance to the families of the deceased and to study the reasons for what had happened and work to prevent its recurrence."

The unit will also probe into violations among companies that organised those unregistered pilgrims, he said, adding that since some Egyptian pilgrims were not registered in the official Haj database, it was difficult for the Egyptian medical team in Mecca to follow their conditions and provide necessary services, reports Xinhua news agency.

Egyptian consular work teams were currently confirming the identity and number of hospitalised Egyptian pilgrims, including those receiving treatment and the deceased, according to the cabinet's statement.

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi highlighted "the need for immediate coordination with the Saudi authorities to facilitate receiving the bodies of the deceased and streamline the process in this regard," said the Egyptian presidency in a statement.

On Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the ministry extended sincere condolences to the families of the deceased pilgrims, stressing its efforts around the clock until all Egyptian pilgrims return home safely.

Egyptian citizens who have lost contact with families in Mecca, Medina, or at holy pilgrimage sites are advised to contact the ministry or call the 24-hour emergency consular services in Jeddah.

Haj, a key pillar of Islam, is annually performed in Mecca by pilgrims coming from all over the world. The number of pilgrims has exceeded 1.8 million this year, according to Saudi authorities.

The Haj season coincided this year with a heatwave that led to hundreds of deaths among crowds of pilgrims. The temperatures in Mecca sometimes exceeded 51 degrees Celsius in recent days.



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