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Egypt vows punishment to companies behind unregistered pilgrims’ travel after Hajj deaths

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has stated that an investigation will be launched into the companies responsible for organizing the travel of unregistered Hajj pilgrims following the unfortunate deaths of several Egyptian pilgrims this year.

In a statement on Thursday, the premier said that these companies resorted to unofficial means to facilitate the pilgrims’ travel without providing them with logistical services or adhering to the regulatory frameworks.

He emphasized that decisive decisions will be taken and severe penalties will be imposed to prevent the repetition of such violations in the future.

Based on the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, there is a task force established to monitor and manage the crisis of the Egyptian pilgrims’ deaths.

The crisis task force comprises officials from relevant ministries and authorities.

Its responsibilities include providing support and assistance to the families of the deceased and studying the causes of their deaths, as well as taking measures to prevent its recurrence.

The Egyptian official Hajj mission this year totaled 50,752, with a total of 28 deaths, Madbouly said, citing data from the Ministry of Health. He added that this is the lowest percentage of deaths among Egyptian pilgrims in previous years.

However, due to the lack of registered data for unregistered pilgrims with the medical mission, it has been challenging to monitor their health conditions, Madbouly affirmed.

He stressed that “anyone who facilitated such irregular travel will be held accountable.”

Madbouly stressed that a consular task force, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is currently conducting field visits to hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

The task force aims to obtain data on Egyptian pilgrims there, whether receiving treatment or deceased, and cross-referencing it with the information provided by the families of those reported missing.

The Cabinet affirmed the presence of a significant number of Egyptian pilgrims who are not registered in the official Hajj databases.

This requires additional effort and time to search for the missing individuals and locate their families, the Cabinet added.

For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dedicated emergency rooms that operate around the clock and can be contacted by citizens.

The numbers are as follows: (27923050 – 27923060 – 27942782 – 01006638814).

Numerous deaths

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.

The Hajj pilgrimage, which took place in the year 1445 AH, attracted nearly 2 million pilgrims who endured scorching heat.

On Monday, temperatures in Makkah reached a staggering 52 degrees Celsius, as reported by Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology (NCM).

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.