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Hajj 1445: Pilgrims urged to be cautious as temperatures in Makkah and Mina soar

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By Ragheema Mclean

Several pilgrims in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have died, and many are believed missing. In the latest count, 19 people have been confirmed dead, while 17 others are reported missing.

Among the victims, at least six were said to have suffered sunstroke, ahead of a weather forecast predicting nearly 50-degree Celsius heat.

The cause of the other deaths has not been specified.

Speaking on VOC Breakfast, the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) secretary general Hafiz Hassan Choonara said pilgrims were issued an urgent directive following the extreme heat.

He noted, “It has been quite hot in the kingdom. There’s been a directive urging pilgrims to be cautious and avoid going to the Jamarat facility and staying out of direct sunlight from 11 am to 4pm for your safety and the safety of all pilgrims.”

Despite some rain on Monday (17 June), the heat remains intense. Pilgrims are advised to perform the ritual of pelting the Jamarat after 4pm.

He expressed, “It’s been a very smooth process overall; you do have your odd issues here and there, but overall, it has been a huge success Algamdulilah (Glory be to God).”

Meanwhile, this week, flights carrying large numbers of pilgrims from KwaZulu-Natal, Johannesburg, and Cape Town are expected to arrive.

As excitement builds at home, Choonara stressed that families are urged to follow airport rules and be considerate of other travellers.

Furthermore, a recent social media post highlighted the refusal of entry to Saudi Arabia for two South African pilgrims due to fraudulent Hajj “Mujamala” visas issued by non-accredited operators.

Commenting on the matter, he stated that Saudi authorities have been strict this year to prevent individuals from performing Hajj without accredited visas.

“It was not an accredited Hajj operator that allegedly supplied a Mujamala visa to two pilgrims in Johannesburg. They contacted SAHUC, and we then contacted the embassy in Pretoria to see if they could render any service,” Choonara explained.

“Although they paid large amounts of money to obtain these visas, they were ultimately sent back home. We have noted this issue, and these passengers have been encouraged to take it up with the operators.”

VOC News

Photo: @insharifain/X

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