MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A Filipino pilgrim was among the dead in a tragic stampede during the annual Muslim pilgrimage at the hajj that claimed over 700 lives Thursday, September 24, the foreign affairs department said.
In a post on Twitter on Friday night, September 25, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose said, “The personal circumstances of the victim are being withheld on the request of the family.”
The stampede occured during a ritual called stoning of the devil.
After news of the tragedy broke out, the DFA said the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah has been verifying reports that one local Filipino pilgrim died in the stampede in Mecca.
Saudi authorities have yet to provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the 717 pilgrims killed in stampede, but several foreign countries have announced the deaths of nationals.
Here is the toll given by foreign officials and media so far, as compiled by Agence France-Presse. It does not include the Filipino victim yet:
- Algeria – 3 dead
- Burundi – 1 dead
- Egypt – 8 dead
- Iran – 131 dead
- India – 14 dead
- Indonesia – 3 dead
- Kenya – 3 dead
- Morocco – 87 dead, according to Moroccan media
- Netherlands – 1 dead
- Pakistan – 7 dead
- Senegal – 5 dead
- Somalia – 8 dead, according to media reports
- Tanzania – 4 dead
The stampede began at around 9 am (0600 GMT), shortly after the civil defense said on Twitter it was dealing with a “crowding” incident in Mina.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had converged on Mina to throw pebbles at one of 3 walls representing Satan, for the last major ritual of the hajj, which officially ends on Sunday.
Interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki said the stampede was caused when “a large number of pilgrims were in motion at the same time” at an intersection of two streets in Mina.
“The great heat and fatigue of the pilgrims contributed to the large number of victims,” he said. Temperatures in Mina had reached 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) Thursday. – with Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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