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Saudi Arabia announces high temperatures for upcoming Hajj

1 min

Saudi Arabia announced that Muslim pilgrims should expect maximum temperatures of up to 44 degrees Celsius during the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Last year, the event was marked by thousands of cases of heat stress.

The Hajj, starting this year on June 14 © Mena Today 

Saudi Arabia announced that Muslim pilgrims should expect maximum temperatures of up to 44 degrees Celsius during the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Last year, the event was marked by thousands of cases of heat stress.

"The expected climate for this year's Hajj will be characterized by an increase in average temperatures by one and a half to two degrees above seasonal normals," said Ayman Ghulam, director of the National Meteorological Center, during a press conference.

Forecasts predict "a relative humidity of 25%, near-zero rainfall, and an average maximum temperature of 44 degrees," he added.

The Hajj, starting this year on June 14, is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once by all Muslims who can afford it. The pilgrimage involves a series of rituals performed over four days in and around Mecca, in western Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the holy city hosted over 1.8 million pilgrims for the Hajj, according to official figures. More than 2,000 people suffered from heat stress, with temperatures soaring up to 48 degrees. The actual number of heat-related cases, including heart attacks, exhaustion, cramps, and heat rashes, is likely higher, as many people did not seek medical attention.

Data from various countries, especially Indonesia, reported at least 230 deaths during the pilgrimage, without specifying the causes. Saudi Arabia has not disclosed official death figures.

To mitigate the effects of the heat, authorities in the kingdom, located in one of the hottest regions in the world, are taking measures such as providing air-conditioned tents and misting systems. "It is necessary to have sufficient water supplies to meet daily consumption as temperatures rise," emphasized the Saudi official, also noting that food must be properly refrigerated.

Hosting the Hajj is a significant financial boon for Saudi Arabia and a source of legitimacy for the Saudi monarch, whose title includes "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" of Mecca and Medina.

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