Ghanaian death toll rises to 8 at Hajj due to Saudi heat wave
Ghanaian death toll rises to 8 at Hajj due to Saudi heat wave

Ghanaian death toll rises at Hajj due to Saudi heat wave

Six Ghanaian nationals have died in Mecca amid a severe heat wave sweeping through Saudi Arabia, bringing the total death toll for Ghanaians to eight during this year's Hajj pilgrimage.


The pilgrims, who were residing in Madinah as part of their religious journey, endured extreme temperatures exceeding 41 degrees Celsius.

Saudi authorities responded to the intense heat by mandating that all pilgrims remain within their tents during the peak heat hours between noon and 4 p.m. local time. Initial reports of fatalities among Georgian pilgrims soon revealed that Ghanaians were also victims of the heat wave.

More than 1,000 people have now died during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Hajj Board's spokesperson, Abdul Rahman Alhassan Gomda, confirmed the tragic news in an interview on Citi FM.

"The temperature was so high—above 41 degrees Celsius," said Mr. Gomda. "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."

Mr. Gomda further explained that there was confusion regarding the number of Ghanaian fatalities, as initial reports suggested up to 13 deaths. However, these figures included individuals who did not travel via the Hajj Board and were suspected of using non-Hajj visas.

"The forensic center at the morgue, where the corpses are kept before being buried, had only managed to identify six nationals from Ghana," Gomda stated. "They were using fingerprints, and it was a laborious task. So, it will take days before the exact 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."

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