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98 Indians Died Of Natural Causes During Hajj, Says Foreign Ministry

Ninety-eight Indians have died in Saudi Arabia during Hajj this year, the government said today. All deaths are due to “natural causes”, the Foreign Ministry said. This year 1,75,000 Indians have visited Saudi for hajj till now, the government said. “We will do all we can for the Indians there,” it said.

Around 10 countries have reported 1,081 deaths during the pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam which all Muslims with the means must complete at least once. The hajj, whose timing is determined by the lunar Islamic calendar, fell again this year during the oven-like Saudi summer.

The pilgrimage involves hours of walking and praying even as the temperature in Saudi reached 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) this week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has calculated that heat kills at least half a million people every year but warns that the real figure could be up to 30 times higher.

The Union Health Ministry today unveiled a document that lays the roadmap for the health services and how those services can be availed of by the pilgrims.

The medical care arrangements include revising the medical screening and fitness certificate used to assess the health and fitness of the hajj applicants in India, providing health cards to select pilgrims for their journey, providing vaccines to states for organising vaccination camps, establishing health desks at embarkation points, deputation of healthcare personnel and setting up of medical infrastructure at various sites.

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