98 Indians died during Hajj pilgrimage this year: India's Ministry of External Affairs

World Saturday 22/June/2024 08:11 AM
98 Indians died during Hajj pilgrimage this year: India's Ministry of External Affairs

New Delhi: Ninety-eight Indians, who were among 1.75 lakh pilgrims from the country to go for the Hajj pilgrimage this year, died on account of causes such as natural illness, natural causes, chronic illness and also old age, Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

Answering queries during the weekly media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said about 1,75,000 Indian pilgrims went for Hajj this year.

He said the number of Indians who died in Hajj last year was 187.

“This year we have 175,000 Indians who have already visited Haj... So far we have lost 98 of our citizens. These deaths have happened on account of natural illness, natural causes, chronic illness, and also old age. On the day of Arafat, six Indians died and four Indians died on account of accidents. Last year the figure of Indians who died in Hajj was 187," Jaiswal said.

He said India’s Hajj Mission in Jeddah renders all possible help to the pilgrims.

"The core Hajj period is from, I think, May 9 to July 22…Our Haj Mission in Jeddah works on a large scale. There are medical missions, hospitals, ambulances, and all the facilities to look after our people. And whatever such incidents happen there, we immediately meet their families and people and do whatever work can be done," Jaiswal said.

Earlier in the day, Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra released a document which lays the roadmap of the health services and how those services can be availed of by the Haj pilgrims.

The document is titled ‘Medical Care Arrangements for Haj Pilgrimage’. It was released in collaboration with the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Consulate General of India in Jeddah Mohammed Shahid Alam joined the event virtually.

A Health Ministry release said that Haj represents the largest and most enduring annual mass gathering event globally. The responsibility for medical care arrangements lies with the Emergency Medical Relief Division and the International Health Division of the Directorate General of Health Services under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Apurva Chandra noted that this is only the second year since the healthcare responsibilities have been assigned to the Union Health Ministry and stated that “the experience has provided significant learnings for improving the healthcare services”.

Of the nearly 1,75,000 pilgrims who undertook the Haj pilgrimage this year from India, about 40,000 are elderly people.

He said in view of the harsh weather conditions this year, the health challenges have necessitated round-the-clock services for the pilgrims and oral health and dental care services were added last year learning from the past experience. The Union Health Secretary also added that nearly two lakh OPDs have been conducted this year, along with visits by the medical teams to the pilgrims.

Apurva Chandra stated that with the help of NIC, a live portal has been developed that provides real time data and analysis on the pilgrims seeking medical care and the services being provided. “We are continuously monitoring and this will help us to improve our services significantly so that we become the beacon of excellence to be emulated by other countries,” he said.

“It is a matter of pride to be of assistance to our citizens wherever they might be. Be it for evacuating our students from Ukraine or assisting our people who got stuck in the fire incident in Kuwait, India has always been at the forefront in helping its citizens,” he said, adding that India has helped other countries also who have sought help during crisis.