Heatwave in Mecca: Pilgrims from Uganda safe- officials

Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun as they gather to attend noon prayers outside Nimrah Mosque at the Plain of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 15, 2024. PHOTO/REUTERS

What you need to know:

  • Sheikh Bogere added that some of the pilgrims are weak but not ill and they are still performing their rituals without any interruption.

All Ugandans who travelled to the holy city of Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage are safe amidst reports that hundreds of pilgrims have died from the scorching heat in Saudi Arabia, officials have said.
 “We have not received any death though we had three serious cases of pilgrims who were in bad condition but they are promising now. We have managed to provide the necessary medication,” the Secretary General of Uganda Bureau of Hajj Affairs, Sheikh Hassan Bogere who is also in Mecca said on the telephone.
According to him, some of the Ugandan pilgrims arrived in Mecca with pre-existing health conditions, and they had prepared accordingly to manage them.
“Due to the high temperature in Mecca, we managed to advise pilgrims to perform their rituals in the morning hours and others in the evening when the temperature is manageable,” he said.

Sheikh Bogere added that some of the pilgrims are weak but not ill and they are still performing their rituals without any interruption.
“The main problem we have is flue and cough,” he added.
He also noted that the first and biggest group of 260 pilgrims will return on June 24. The second group of 240 pilgrims is expected to return to Uganda on June 25, all using Ethiopian Airlines. The last group will use Uganda Airlines and is expected to return on June 26.

Media reports from Mecca suggest that the death toll from this year’s hajj due to the heatwave exceeds 1,000 with unregistered pilgrims making up more than half of those who perished.
Temperatures on Tuesday reached 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) in Mecca and the sacred sites in and around the city, according to the Saudi National Center for Meteorology. Some people fainted while trying to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil.