Tuesday, 23 July

Hajj: Six Ghanaian pilgrims succumb to heat wave in Mecca

Health News
Mr. Gomba detailed the efforts to identify the deceased Ghanaians, noting the challenges faced by the forensic team

Six Ghanaian nationals have died due to an intense heat wave sweeping through Saudi Arabia, bringing the total death toll among Ghanaian pilgrims to eight.

This follows the earlier report of two fatalities on June 13.

Spokesperson for the Hajj Board, Abdul Rahman Alhassan Gomba, explained that the pilgrims, who were staying in Madina as part of their religious journey, were subjected to extreme temperatures exceeding 41 degrees Celsius.

To combat the scorching heat, Saudi authorities had instructed all pilgrims to stay within their tents during the peak heat hours between noon and 4 p.m. local time. Despite these precautions, fatalities were reported, initially involving Georgian nationals. It was later confirmed that Ghanaians were also among the victims.

“The temperature was so high—above 41 degrees Celsius,” Mr. Gomba stated while revealing that: “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.”

According to Sky News, over 1,000 people have now died during the Hajj pilgrimage to the city of Mecca.

Mr. Gomba detailed the efforts to identify the deceased Ghanaians, noting the challenges faced by the forensic team.

“I had the opportunity to speak with an official at the time 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 traveled with a non-Hajj visa.”

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

“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.”

The Spokesperson for the Hajj Board, confirmed the devastating news during an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, on Wednesday, 20 June 2024.



Source: classfmonline.com/Elikem Adiku