According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the scorching heat in Saudi Arabia led to deaths among at least 600 Egyptians.

While putting the total figure at 922, according to a tally, it said many old and infirm, took part in the days-long, mostly outdoor pilgrimage, held this year during the oven-like Saudi summer.

“Relatives scoured hospitals and pleaded online for news, fearing the worst after temperatures hit 51.8°C in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, on Monday.

“Facebook and other social media networks have been flooded with pictures of the missing and requests for information.”

It said in addition to Egypt, fatalities have also been confirmed by Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, though in many cases authorities have not specified the cause.

Despite reports that over 900 pilgrims died during the hajj pilgrimage in Muna, Makkah, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has stated that only three Nigerians died during the period.

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Speaking during the post Arafat meeting in Makkah, NAHCON’s Head of Medical Team, Abubakar Adamu Ismail, said the lower number was recorded due to adequate preparation

While affirming 17 pilgrimage heat stroke during the period, he said they were able to be resuscitated due to their closeness to Nigeria’s hajj camp.

“if the patients had the diagnosis in Jamarat, which is about 3 Kilometers to the camps, they would have died.

He added that 2 pregnant women had miscarriages during the period with 25 cases of severe dehydration and five cardiac arrests.

Speaking earlier, NAHCON’s head of Aviation, Eng. Mohammed Goni Sanda, said the outbound flight to Nigeria will begin on June 22 with Kebbi astate pilgrims.

He said the return flights will be based on First-in-first-out with three flights scheduled daily, which will subsequently increase to four, five and six flights daily.

On his part, the Chairman of NAHCON, Jalal Ahmed Arabi, said preparations of 2025 Hajj has commenced.

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He urged states’ pilgrims welfare board to end preparation for the 2025 Hajj by September to enable it have knowledge of the number of pilgrims that will participate in the exercise.

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