Three Nigerians die in Saudi Arabia, as pilgrims set for Arafat

Muslim pilgrims circle counterclockwise Islam's holiest shrine. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

Muslim pilgrims circle counterclockwise Islam’s holiest shrine. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

Just as pilgrims for this year’s Hajj braces up to climb the mountain Arafat tomorrow (Sunday), the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has confirmed the death of three out of the 76,000 Nigerians in Saudi Arabia for the exercise.

The Saudi Arabia hajj authority had earlier declared that the Arafat processions would take place tomorrow, while the big celebrations roll in till the next day (Monday), which marks Eid el fitr.

The Head of Medical Team, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, who confirmed the death toll to stakeholders during a pre-Arafat meeting at Makkah, said two of the pilgrims died in Madinah and one in Makkah, adding that his medical team were still conducting postmortem to ascertain the actual cause of death.

He said one of the dead pilgrims died in his sleep while no one knows the cause of death of the remaining two.

He attributed the low death rate this year to adequate preparation by NAHCON, as over 400 medical personnel were mobilised for the exercise.

Kana said the medical personnel have been distributed to all Nigerian camps to ensure prompt response to the medical needs of Nigerians.

To this end, he said NAHCON has procured three new ambulances and sufficient drugs that would complement what Saudi government had provided to take care of Nigerian pilgrims during the Arafat period.

He warned pilgrims not to indulge in moving about during sunny afternoon because of heat stroke in Makkah and Madinah due to hot temperature.

Kana also advised pilgrims to feed well, eat fruits and take a lot of water to cushion the effect of the heat and reduce the influx of sick pilgrims to the medical centre.

He decried absence of medical history of pilgrims, saying the wristbands introduced by NAHCON this year, if properly implemented, would help in solving that problem.



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