- Title: VARIOUS: RELATIVES OF PILGRIMS KILLED IN HAJ STAMPEDE FLOCK TO HOSPITALS
- Date: 10th April 1998
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (APRIL 10, 1998) (ANI) - AUDIO AS INCOMING - LV EXTERIOR OF INDIA'S FOREIGN OFFICE SCU PAWAN VERMA, SPOKESPERSON, INDIAN FOREIGN OFFICE SAYING "THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING ALL CARE TO ASCERTAIN THE FACTS AND IDENTIFY THE VICTIMS. SOME PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE BUT SOME MORE TIME WILL BE REQUIRED TO FULLY IDENTIFY THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE STAMPEDE." (ENGLISH) (FILE) HAJ PILGRIMS LEAVING FOR PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA (5 SHOTS) 2.54 Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 20th January 2015 07:11
- Location: NEW DELHI, INDIA/ MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia India
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA68UDX46YJD8TLPZ1HKSLKHHDE
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Relatives and friends of pilgrims worshipping at Mecca have flocked to hospitals in and near the holy city in Saudi Arabia to identify 118 people killed during a stampede on the last day of the annual haj.
In New Delhi, anxious relatives of the Indians who made the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia waited for more details on the 24 who were crushed to death.
At least 24 Indians were among more than 100 Moslem pilgrims killed in a stampede at the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Indian government officials said on Friday (April 10).
More than 1.7 million pilgrims from 100 countries performed the haj this year - over 170,000 were from India and Pakistan.
Some of the relatives of the haj pilgrims were in New Delhi on Friday in the hope of news on their relatives.
"I have come to inquire about the haj pilgrims who went from my township", said Banne Beg, who arrived from Sambhal in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh."I don't know whether they are safe or not." The Delhi-unit of the Haj Committee was taking measures to identify the victims.More than 3,000 pilgrims went from Delhi, said Chiraguddin Quereshi, chairman of the committee.
"We are in constant touch with our colleagues who had gone on haj.They are collecting data.So when we get the information we will give it to the relatives", Quereshi said.
The haj committee is scheduled to put up a list of the victims by Friday evening.
"The government is taking all care to ascertain the facts and identify the victims.Some progress has been made but some more time will be required to fully identify those who have been killed in the stampede", Indian foreign ministry spokesman Pawan Verma said.
In Saudi Arabia, several embassies said officials were visiting hospitals to identify victims, but it was proving difficult as many pilgrims had lost metal wrist bands they wear giving their identities.
The stampede took place on a bridge near Mena, outside Mecca, where a huge crowd of pilgrims prepared for the symbolic stoning of the devil.Many were crushed under the feet of the tightly packed crowd.Others fell off the bridge to their death.
Saudi Arabia said 118 people died in the crush, which struck a haj that pilgrims say was one of the best organised for years.It did not give a number for those injured.
Saudi officials took extra measures to ensure a safe haj, including spending millions of dollars on fire-resistant tents, widening roads and beefing up security and medical services.
Witnesses said security men who tried to help were overwhelmed by the crowd, but medical teams, expecting to deal with victims of the heat, were quick to react.
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