Mina stampede: Pakistani death toll rises to 76, says MORA

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Monday, 05 October 2015

At least 76 Pakistanis are reported dead in the September 24 stampede in Mina during the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Of this number, the deaths of 29 pilgrims were confirmed by Saudi authorities, while 47 deaths have been reported by eyewitnesses and relatives, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

At least 47 people are reported injured, with 40 discharged from medical care facilities and seven still undergoing treatment, MORA confirmed.

Over 769 pilgrims were killed in the stampede which left at least 934 others injured.

The incident took place at the intersection of Mina's street number 204 with street number 223 at 9am (local time), Radio Pakistan quoted a spokesman of Saudi Directorate of Civil Defense saying.

The crush occurred as pilgrims were performing the Haj ritual of stoning the devil at the Jamarat Aqaba.

An eyewitness claims all but one route to the site had been closed, causing the situation to worsen as pilgrims returning from Jamarat were allowed by police to use the same route to go back to their tents.

Interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki said at the time that 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."

Irfan al-Alawi, co-founder of the Makkah-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF) had said that despite the large numbers, police were not properly trained and lacked the language skills for communicating with foreign pilgrims, who make up the majority of those on the Haj.

"They don't have a clue how to engage with these people," al-Alawi said, adding, "There's no crowd control."

Iran, which has lost at least 464 pilgrims to the stampede, blamed Saudi 'mismanagement' for the incident. It had also accused Riyadh of a cover-up, saying the real death toll exceeds 4,700, without providing evidence to support its claim.

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