2024 Hajj: Six Ghanaians among over 1,000 dead due to intense Saudi heat wave


Six Ghanaian nationals have tragically died in Mecca due to a heat wave that has swept through Saudi Arabia.


This unfortunate development follows the two deaths reported on June 13, bringing the total number of Ghanaian fatalities to eight.


Abdul Rahman Alhassan Gomba, the Spokesperson for the Hajj Board, confirmed this to Umaru Sanda on Eyewitness News. He explained that the pilgrims, who were in Madina for their religious journey, faced extreme temperatures exceeding 41 degrees Celsius.


In response to the intense heat, Saudi authorities instructed all pilgrims to remain in their tents during the peak heat hours between noon and 4 p.m. local time.


The situation became more dire when reports of fatalities among the pilgrims surfaced, initially involving Georgian nationals. It was subsequently discovered that Ghanaians were also among the victims of the heat wave.


According to Sky News, more than 1,000 people have now died during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.


“The temperature was so high—above 41 degrees Celsius,” Gomba stated. “They asked the authorities to confine us to our camps between noon and 4 p.m. Saudi time. Later, we heard that some Georgians lost their lives in town. At the time, we didn’t even know that some Ghanaians were also going to lose their lives under the conditions said to be related to the heat waves that swept across Saudi Arabia on the day.”


He added, “I had the opportunity to speak with an official when word spread around the Ghanaian camp that 13 of our nationals had lost their lives. These people were persons who did not travel via the Hajj Board. These were people suspected of having travelled with a non-Hajj visa.”


Gomba continued, “The forensic centre at the morgue, where the corpses are kept before being buried, had only managed to identify six nationals from Ghana. When I asked how they were doing it, they told me they were using fingerprints, and it was a laborious task.”


He concluded, “So, it will take days before the number of Ghanaians who died as a result of the heat wave will be established. Currently, we can say six people died during the heat wave, even though an autopsy report is not yet out regarding the subject.”

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