Hajj: At least 717 dead in Mina stampede

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Hajj: At least 717 dead in Mina stampede



Saudi Arabia’s civil defense says that at least 717 pilgrims have died on Thursday when a stampede broke out in the city of Mina, reported Al Arabiya News.

At least 863 others were injured in the crush at a crossroads on Street 204 at the camp city at Mina, a few kilometres east of Makkah, the Saudi civil defence said.

Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent Abdulrahman Al-Osaimi reporting from Mina emergency hospital said the stampede happened near entrance of the Jamarat Vridge near Street 204, and not inside of the Jamarat area where the stoning pillars are situated.

At a press conference before sunset prayers, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told reportersthat the street at which the stampede took place "witnessed unprecedented high number of pilgrims" compared to previous years.

Pilgrims were on their way toward Jamarat, an area which holds three stone pillars that represent the devil where pilgrims symbolicly throw small stones at as one of their last major Hajj rites.

"Street number 204 is a road leading from the camps to the Jamarat Bridge. What happened was that a group of pilgrims on busses were allowed to descend onto the pathways that lead to the Jamarat Bridge at a time that wasn’t allocated to them,” Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent in Mina, Saad Al-Matrafi said.

“As they neared the area, they converged with an existing group of people who were already in the area, which pushed the area to overcapacity."

READ MORE - Live blog: #Hajj2015

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef has ordered an investigation into finding why procedures and protocols were not followed at the time of the stampede.

Al-Turki also told reporters that the incident initial investigations of the incident indicated that two pathways, one of which is St. 204, converged at the the same time. The majority of Thursday's victims, according to officials, descended onto a pathway toward Jamarat during a time that was not allocated to them.

When asked why authorities could not expand the areas of the camp city of Mina and Mashar to accommodate the huge numbers of pilgrims, al-Turki said: "As per the boundaries of of Mashar and Mina areas, we cannot possibly expand the locations as both Mashar and Mina have set boundaries that are dictated by Islamic principles for Hajj proceedings."

READ MORE - Timeline: A look at the worst stampedes during Hajj

The civil defense team that responded to the stampede earier in the day said around 4,000 members of their emergency response team, along with the Red Cross, were deployed to the scene to help lead pilgrims to safer routes away from the stampede. Rescue operations were still underway.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/09/24/Hajj-100-dead-and-390-injured-in-Mina-stampede.html
 

Scorpion

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That what happens when roles are not followed. RIP.
 

BLACKEAGLE

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White House expresses condolences over ‘heartbreaking’ hajj stampede

A pilgrim being escorted after deadly stampede. (Al Arabiya News)

AFP, Washington
Thursday, 24 September 2015

The White House on Thursday offered condolences after a “heartbreaking” stampede in Saudi Arabia that left more than 700 Muslim pilgrims dead.

“The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the hundreds of Hajj pilgrims killed and hundreds more injured in the heartbreaking stampede in Mina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

“As Muslims around the world continue to celebrate Eid al-Adha, we join you in mourning the tragic loss of these faithful pilgrims.”


Last Update: Thursday, 24 September 2015 KSA 19:19 - GMT 16:19
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/09/24/White-House-expresses-condolences-over-heartbreaking-hajj-stampede.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Saudi King Salman orders review of Hajj plan after deadly stampede

Saud King Salman on Thursday in a televised speech offered his condolences after more than 700 people were killed in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage. (Al Arabiya)

Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
Thursday, 24 September 2015

Saud King Salman on Thursday in a televised speech offered his condolences after more than 700 people were killed in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah earlier, and said he has ordered a review of the country’s pilgrimage plan.

The king also said he had requested a swift investigation into what he described as a painful incident where at least 863 others were injured in the crush at a crossroad on Street 204 at the camp city in Mina, a few kilometers east of Makkah.

At a press conference before sunset prayers, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told reporters that the street at which the stampede took place “witnessed unprecedented high number of pilgrims” compared to previous years.

Turki said the investigation would look into what caused an unusual density of pilgrims to congregate at the location of the disaster. “The reason for that is not known yet,” he told a news conference in Mina.

Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday offered condolences after a “heartbreaking” stampede.

(With AFP)

Last Update: Thursday, 24 September 2015 KSA 21:11 - GMT 18:11
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/09/24/Saudi-King-Salman-orders-review-of-Hajj-plan-after-deadly-stampede-.html
 

Combat Medic

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Some stupid pilgrims walked wrong-path causing this sad incident.
 

Scorpion

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BLACKEAGLE

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World leaders react to Hajj stampede

Pilgrims sit on the side walk in grief near the site of the stampede. (Essa Al-Dobisi/Al Arabiya)


By Staff Writer | Al Arabiya News
Friday, 25 September 2015

Hours after a stampede in the tent city of Mina claimed at least 717 lives and 863 other injuries, world leaders have reacted by offering the Muslim world, and Saudi Arabia, their condolences.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz

(Photo: SPA)

Saudi’s King Salman sressed his profound condolence on the victims of the stampede incident in Mina earlier today, offering the families of the martyred his warm condolence and the injured quick recovery.

“This sad accident, into which we have instructed the concerned authorities to launch investigation and provide us with the results as soon as possible,”, the monarch said.

He added that despite the results that would come out of the investigation, “the developing and upgrading of the mechanisms and ways of official performance in Hajj season would not cease.”

The monarch vowed that all obstacles and difficulties will be removed to enable the guests of God to perform their rituals in comfort and reassurance as “our duty and responsibilities are great in terms of service of the guests of God, which is an honor to us, and towards which we appeal to Allah Almighty to help us succeed in fulfilling this great and noble mission.”

Pope Francis

(Photo: Reuters)

Pope Francis expressed “closeness” with the world’s Muslims on Thursday after more than 700 pilgrims were killed in a stampede outside the Islamic holy city of Makkah in the worst disaster to strike the annual haj pilgrimage in a quarter century.

Speaking during a packed evening prayer service at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Argentine pope said he wanted to express “my sentiments of closeness in the face of the tragedy that their people suffered today in Makkah.”

“In this moment of prayer, I unite myself with you all in prayer to God, our father, all powerful and merciful,” Francis added.

United Nations’ Ban Ki-Moon

(Photo: Reuters)

The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement that he “was deeply saddened to learn of the death of more than 700 Hajj pilgrims and of injuries to many others as a result of a deadly incident in the Mina Valley in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This tragic incident is all the more distressing as it took place on the first day of the Holy Eid Al-Adha marking the end of the annual Hajj season.”

He extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his sympathies to all the Governments concerned.

U.S. White House

(Photo: Reuters)

“The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the hundreds of Hajj pilgrims killed and hundreds more injured in the heartbreaking stampede in Mina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

“As Muslims around the world continue to celebrate Eid al-Adha, we join you in mourning the tragic loss of these faithful pilgrims.”

South Africa

(Photo: Reuters)

The office of South Africa's Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement, carried by Times Live:

While the South African government awaits information about the status of South African pilgrims‚ acting president Ramaphosa has expressed South Africa's shared grief at this substantial loss of life.

“He also wished injured survivors a speedy recovery‚” a statement by the Department on International Relations and Cooperation said.

“Acting president Ramaphosa said that for South Africans‚ the stampede was particularly tragic given its coincidence with Heritage Day‚ an occasion dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the nation and humanity at large.”

[With Agencies]

Last Update: Friday, 25 September 2015 KSA 10:47 - GMT 07:47

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/special-reports/hajj-2015/2015/09/25/World-leaders-react-to-Hajj-stampede.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Morocco, Iran suffer highest death toll in Hajj stampede

Media reports place Moroccan deaths at 87 while Iranian officials said 131 Iranians died. (File: Essa Al-Dobisi/Al Arabiya)

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News
Friday, 25 September 2015

Several countries have announced the death of their nationals in a deadly a deadly stampede during Hajj that claimed the lives of 717 people on Thursday, AFP reported.

Morocco and Iran suffered the highest death tolls. Media reports place Moroccan deaths at 87 while Iranian officials said 131 Iranians died.

Here is the toll given by foreign officials and media so far:

- Morocco: 87 dead, according to Moroccan media

- Egypt: 8 dead

- Algeria: 3 dead

- Somalia: 8 dead, according to media reports

- Iran: 131 dead

- Pakistan: 7 dead

- India: 14 dead

- Indonesia: 3 dead

- Kenya: 3 dead

- Netherlands: 1 dead

- Senegal: 5 dead

- Burundi: 1 dead

- Tanzania: 4 dead

[With AFP

Last Update: Friday, 25 September 2015 KSA 16:48 - GMT 13:48
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/09/25/Morocco-Iran-suffer-highest-death-toll-in-Hajj-stampede.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Hajj stampede caused by Iranian pilgrims “not following instructions”: Hajj mission official

A group of around 300 Iranian pilgrims did not wait for clearance to leave Jamarat

Street 204 in Mina, east of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where a stampede killed hundreds of pilgrims on September 24, 2015. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Mina, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Hajj tragedy that has left hundreds of people dead and injured was caused by a group of Iranian pilgrims who failed to follow instructions from Hajj authorities, an official from Iran’s Hajj mission has revealed.
At least 717 pilgrims were killed and 863 injured on Thursday when two large groups of people collided at a crossroads in Mina, east of the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the Saudi interior ministry said.

The official, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, said the accident occurred after a group of around 300 Iranian pilgrims failed to follow orders requiring them to wait for clearance to leave Jamarat—the site where pilgrims perform the “stoning the devil” ritual.

Instead, the group went back to their mission’s headquarters as other groups were on their way to the site as scheduled, according to the official.

“The group stopped for a while, causing the coming pilgrims to take a route no more than 20 meters wide,” he said, adding that such behavior often leads to tragic consequences in crowded areas.

The Iranian pilgrims were scheduled to leave Jamarat hours after the accident took place, the official said.

Meanwhile, a Saudi security source said authorities may check security cameras installed in the tunnel leading to Jamarat to verify when the Iranian group left the site.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz on Thursday offered his condolences to the families of the victims and promised that “the improvement of the methods and mechanisms of the Hajj season will not stop.”

The majority of eyewitnesses who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat agreed that the crush occurred after pilgrims “failed to follow orders from security.”

Yahia Hamida, a 26-year-old pilgrim from Jordan, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “an unusual mass of pilgrims congregated on Street 204 [that leads to Jamarat] after some entered the wrong lane.”

“Movement on Street 204 was normal until a large number of pilgrims came in the opposite direction, which stopped movement for about an hour and a half before the elderly began to collapse,” another pilgrim said.

Saudi interior ministry has said investigations into the causes of the tragic stampede were underway and that “high temperature and tiredness” contributed to the accident.

Ibrahim Al-Qurashi contributed additional reporting from Mina

Hajj stampede caused by Iranian pilgrims “not following instructions”: Hajj mission official
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Hajj stampede: Saudi rejects Iranian criticism

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister firmly rejected Iran’s criticism of its handling of the hajj pilgrimage. (File photo: Reuters)

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News
Sunday, 27 September 2015

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Saturday firmly rejected Iran’s criticism of its handling of the hajj pilgrimage Saturday after Tehran demanded an inquiry into a stampede that killed at least 769 people.

"I believe the Iranians should know better than to play politics with a tragedy that has befallen people who were performing their most sacred religious duty," foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Iran's President Hassan Rowhani, who is also in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, has demanded an inquiry into Wednesday's disaster, in which at least 136 Iranians died.

But Jubeir, delivering remarks along U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, insisted that Saudi Arabia was on top of the situation.

"The kingdom has had a long history of spending tremendous resources to care for the pilgrimage to ensure that the pilgrims who come there have a successful pilgrimage," he said.

"And we will reveal the facts when they emerge. And we will not hold anything back. If mistakes were made, who made them will be held accountable," Jubeir said.

"And we will make sure that we will learn from this and we will make sure that it doesn't happen again. I want repeat again this is not a situation with which to play politics.

"I would hope Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy, and wait until we see the results of the investigation."

The death toll from Thursday’s deadly stampede outside the holy city of Makkah during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage climbed to 769, the Saudi Health Minister Khaled Al-Faleh said earlier on Saturday.

The known number of injured now stands at 934, he said in a press conference adding that the Hajj season was void of any epidemics or disease.

Investigations to determine the cause behind the crush are still ongoing.

Prominent Iranian writer and academic Sadegh Zibakalam criticized statements made by Iranian officials on the Mina incident saying that they stemmed out of events in Syria and Yemen.

“As opposed to other Muslims, ours were the only reactions aimed at pre-judging who is responsible for the Mina tragedy,” he was quoted by Al Arabiya.net as saying.

“The response [from Iranian officials] was based on unleashing anti-Arab sentiment that many Iranians bear. The horrible Mina incident has allowed Iranians to unload their anger onto Arabs,” he added.

A report in Asharq Al Awsat newspaper this week said 300 Iranian pilgrims were moving in the opposite direction against “large convoys” on Street 204 heading to the site where ritual of stoning the devil is performed before the crush happened.

Quoting an unnamed source, the paper said that the almost 300 pilgrims did not wait at the site upon completion of the ritual as mandated by Hajj organizers. The worshipers instead moved out onto Street 204 as other groups made their way into the site, the report, cited by Al Arabiya.Net said.


Last Update: Sunday, 27 September 2015 KSA 07:49 - GMT 04:49
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/09/27/Hajj-stampede-Saudi-Arabia-rejects-Iran-criticism-.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Surviving stampede, Sudanese embark on the rescue mission

Two Sudanese pilgrims returned to the deadly site and embarked on the noble task of saving those who were seriously injured. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

By Saudi Gazette | Mina
Sunday, 27 September 2015

After miraculously escaping death in Thursday’s stampede in Mina, two Sudanese pilgrims returned to the deadly site and embarked on the noble task of saving those who were seriously injured in the accident.

They told Al-Hayat newspaper that they cheated death by climbing the roof of a tent when the deadly stampede occurred. When the situation became somewhat normal the Sudanese pilgrims came down and started their rescue operation.

Haitham Khalafallah, 46, said those in charge of the tents should be held partly responsible for the large number of deaths as they refused to let the pilgrims in.

He said he and his 44-year-old compatriot, Youssef Mohammed, were able to pull out 40 severely injured pilgrims and place them on the roofs of the tents.

“We stayed on the top of a tent for about an hour and a half under the scorching sun and then came down to participate in the rescue operation,” he said.

Khalafallah said one of the pilgrims broke down in the crowd, became hysteric took off his Ihram and started attacking everybody near him.

“We grabbed and tied him up to protect the other pilgrims. We kept him tied until an ambulance arrived and took him to a hospital,” he said.

Khalafallah said when the situation permitted, he and his friend came down from the top of the tent and started their sagacious rescue operations. “We focused on the injured pilgrims, especially the old ones. We pulled out those who had a semblance of life in them and took them inside the tents until the arrival of ambulances,” he said.

He said they covered the dead pilgrims with their Ihrams and left them right where they were.

Narrating his version of the story, Mohammed said they were coming on foot from Muzdalaifah to stone the devil when the incident happened.

He blamed the congestion of pilgrims, lack of oxygen due to the terrible heat and the reverse movement of the pilgrims on Street No. 204 to be among the causes of the tragedy.

“In their panic, a number of pilgrims tried to escape the stampede thus worsening the situation,” he added.

Mohammed said they asked the nearby tents to open their emergency doors for the pilgrims but they refused.

“The situation was terrible. It was real hell. Climbing the roof of the tent had saved our lives,” he said.

Mohammed said they lost a third Sudanese friend who was still missing. “His mobile phone is off. We pray to Allah that we may find him alive,” he said. According to the Sudanese Haj mission, only one Sudanese pilgrim died in the stampede.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on September 26, 2015.

Last Update: Sunday, 27 September 2015 KSA 11:22 - GMT 08:22
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/profiles/2015/09/27/Surviving-stampede-Sudanese-embark-on-the-rescue-mission-.html
 

Diane Lane

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It sounds as if there was some semblance of organization, but that procedures weren't followed. Any time there are large gatherings, there is a chance of something going wrong, especially since people are unpredictable, especially in crisis situations. I have no idea how this is usually organized, but hopefully those in charge will take what they have learned from this tragedy, and put that knowledge to use in order to prevent injuries and deaths in the future.
 

missbishi

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What a tragic event. I have no idea whether we'll ever get to the bottom of what really happened but let's hope future pilgrims will be more willing to abide by the rules. Similarly, it seems as though more wardens are probably needed. There's little point in trying to assign blame to a single group.
 

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