More than 700 dead in stampede near Mecca during hajj pilgrimage
September 24th, 2015.
Saudi Arabia faces second major disaster in weeks.
At least 717 people have died during the commemoration of Eid al Adha in the town of Mina just East of Mecca after some of the 2 million pilgrims performing the Hajj pilgrimage were crushed to death in a stampede.
There have been many similar disasters during this day of the Hajj ceremony previously. The latest disaster follows the deaths of more than one hundred people last week when a crane collapsed in the vicinity of the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
The annual pilgrimage is a huge boon to the Saudi economy and the House of Saud gains a great deal of prestige from the event that due to it’s scale and intensity provides unique challenges that the House of Saud have proven are beyond their capabilities. In 1990 more than 1400 pilgrims died in similar circumstances at the same point on the day of Eid al Adha.
Blame Game Begins.
It is being reported that at least 43 Iranian pilgrims are among the dead and the Iranian Government is already offering severe criticism of Saudi Arabia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is quoted as stating:
““Saudi Arabian officials are responsible for this incident and they should immediately endeavour to take effective measures for managing the existing crisis and providing full security for pilgrims,”
The Saudi Health Minister Khaled al-Falih for his part has sought to blame the pilgrims for the calamity, claiming that if the pilgrims had “followed instructions” the disaster would not have happened.
Any security plan that relies on 2 million people speaking dozens of different languages being able to follow instructions at all times is obviously fatally flawed
The Guardian summary at this time is that:
“The Saudi authorities say that 717 people have been killed and 850 injured in a crush during the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Pilgrims from several different countries are reported to have died – no surprise given that foreigners make up around three-quarters of the 2million pilgrims on this year’s hajj.
Iran said 43 of its citizens died in the stampede. It accused its bitter rival of safety errors in connection with the tragedy.
More than 220 ambulances and 4,000 rescue workers have been sent to the location of the tragedy.
The crush appears to have taken on a road between pilgrim camps. It happened on the first day of the Eid al-Adha festival, which marks the end of the hajj. Pilgrims travel toMina just outside Mecca throw pebbles at one of three walls representing Satan, in a symbolic “stoning of the devil”.
Stampedes during the hajj have been a common occurrences in the past, although this is the first to lead to a major loss of life since 2006 and the worst since 1990. The Saudi authorities have made efforts to improve safety in recent years.
The tragedy is the second to hit the kingdom in a fortnight, after the collapse of a construction crane at Mecca’s Grand Mosque killed more than 100 people, days before the hajj pilgrimage began.”
GRAPHIC: Hundreds dead in Mecca stampede during Eid al-Adha
Saudi Arabia: Over 700 killed and 800 injured in Hajj stampede *GRAPHIC*
2015 – Saudi Arabia – 717 Pilgrims Killed, Over 805 Injured in Mecca Hajj Stampede – 24/9/15
Saudi Arabia: Huge operation after hundreds die in Hajj crush *GRAPHIC*