Hajj Stampede

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Hajj Stampede
Hajj Stampede

The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca prescribed as a duty of every Muslim to undertake at least once in their lifetime if they can afford to do so financially and physically capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family in their absence. The gathering at Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of people in the world. Hajj is an intended journey which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. The pilgrimage usually occurs from the 8th to 12th or in some cases 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

The death toll is the deadliest tragedy to ever strike the annual hajj pilgrimage has been increasing day by day. As per the authorities, as of now. At least 1,845 people were killed and hundreds still reportedly remain missing. This is not the first time that these type of incidents happen in Mecca .The Mina crush incident this year now stands as the deadliest Hajj disaster in history. A number of crowd crush tragedies have occurred in the past, with 1,426 people being suffocated and trampled to death in 1990 tunnel tragedy, and at least 701 people killed in crowd crushes between 1991 and 2005. 346 people were killed in a similar Jamaraat incident in 2006. Almost double the people have been killed and missed in this year’s stampede than in 15 years of Hajj stampede. All these incidents prompted the Saudi government to improve the infrastructure and security of the city and its procession routes. The Saudi Arabian government has spent $60 billion to expand the Grand Mosque which houses the Kaaba, which also led to cause a death of hundreds of  workers in the crane accident during the work in progress a couple of months ago this year. The Saudi Arabian Government has employed 100000 security forces and 5,000 CCTV cameras to monitor the crowds.

The incident happened in Mina at an intersection of streets 204 and 223 leading to Jamaraat Bridge. As traditionally performed, it consists of a series of rites which includes Stoning of the Devil, which takes place at the Jamaraat Bridge in Mina, a district a few miles east of Mecca. As per the reports, 19 of the over 180 countries that sent citizens to the five-day annual pilgrimage. Iran says that 465 pilgrims killed, while Egypt lost 182, Nigeria 168 and Indonesia 126.Others include India – 114, Pakistan – 100, Bangladesh – 92, Mali – 70, Senegal – 54, Benin – 51, Cameroon – 42, Morocco – 33, Ethiopia – 31, Sudan – 30, Algeria – 25, Ghana – 12, Chad – 11, Kenya – eight and Turkey with seven. Pilgrims say that the Government has failed in managing the crowd and poor rescue operations are the main cause for the rise in death toll.

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