Over 1,300 Muslims died during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage

Over 1,300 Muslims died during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage

Saudi Arabia has confirmed that at least 1,300 people died during this year’s pilgrimage to Islam’s holy sites, which took place during a period of intense heat.

With temperatures soaring to more than 50 degrees Celsius during the 5-day event which ended last Wednesday, sources said the cause of death in most cases was heat-related.

When it released its first official death toll on Sunday, the Saudi government said that 83 per cent of those who died were unauthorised to perform the Hajj.

The health minister said the identification process was delayed because many of the dead pilgrims did not have identification documents with them.

The people who died came from more than 10 countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, and the United States, but many governments are continuing to update their tolls.

Hajj permits are allocated to countries on a quota system and Saudi Arabia requires each pilgrim to acquire one of the 1.8 million available licences to legally access Mecca.

An Egyptian official said Sunday that more than half of the dead were from Egypt.

They announced the deaths of 31 authorised pilgrims, however, a cabinet official said at least 630 other Egyptians had died.

Egypt's government has revoked the licence of 16 travel agencies, claiming that they had illegally facilitated the travel of unauthorised pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

All able-bodied Muslims are required to perform the Hajj at least once in their lives. Many of the rituals require pilgrims to spend long hours outside walking between the holy sites.