President Sisi orders forming crisis cell to address Egyptian Hajj deaths



Thu, 20 Jun 2024 - 03:42 GMT


Thu, 20 Jun 2024 - 03:42 GMT

FILE - President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi - Reuters

FILE - President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi - Reuters

CAIRO – 20 June 2024: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ordered establishing a crisis cell led by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to address the deaths of Egyptian pilgrims during this Hajj season, 1445 AH.

As per the president’s directives, the crisis cell will closely monitor and manage the situation regarding the deceased pilgrims, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.

The Egyptian Presidency extends its deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and reaffirms the government's commitment to providing necessary support during this unfortunate event.

Sisi emphasized the immediate need for coordination with Saudi authorities to facilitate the repatriation of the deceased and ensure all necessary arrangements are made in this regard.

Scores missing, dead

Around 56,000 Egyptians embarked on the Hajj pilgrimage this year, which spanned over the past week.

While pilgrims have started returning to Egypt, a significant number of them are now reported missing, with many tragically losing their lives due to the extreme heat.

Temperatures in Makkah hovered around a staggering 50 degrees Celsius, as reported by Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM).

According to an Arab diplomat who spoke to Agence France-Presse (AFP), this year's Hajj season has been marred by the deaths of at least 600 Egyptian pilgrims, primarily due to the extremely high temperatures.

This brings the total deaths among pilgrims this year to more than 900, according to an AFP tally.

The diplomat stated that Egyptian officials in the Kingdom has received 1,400 reports of missing pilgrims.

On Thursday, Cairo announced the establishment of consulate field teams to conduct visits to hospitals in Makkah and the holy sites to search for missing Egyptian pilgrims.

Additionally, a consular mission has been stationed at the East Arafat Hospital and the Muaisem medical complex around the clock, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Unregistered pilgrims

However, the ministry said that unregistered Egyptian pilgrims, available in significant numbers this year, has made the mission of locating missing individuals harder.

One of the diplomats interviewed by AFP emphasized that the significant presence of unregistered Egyptian pilgrims this season has played a substantial role in the high death toll among Egyptians.

The influx of unregistered pilgrims has resulted in a breakdown of service provision.

An Egyptian official overseeing the country's Hajj mission stated, "The presence of irregular pilgrims created immense chaos in the Egyptian pilgrims' camps, leading to a collapse in the services provided."

He further explained that the pilgrims were deprived of essential necessities such as food, water, and adequate shelter, which resulted in fatalities due to the extreme heat.



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