New Delhi: A total of 21 people died during Haj pilgrimage this year, out of which 20 deaths were due to natural causes and one person died in road accident.
The External Affairs Ministry said 19 of the deaths have occurred due to cardiac arrest while one person died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with respiratory failure.
“During Haj 2015, there have been 21 deaths so far of which 20 have been due to natural causes and one due to road accident,” it said in a release.
The Ministry, which takes care of Haj pilgrims, said more than 40 per cent of them are above 60 years and of these, 13.5 per cent above 70 years.
“The Ministry of External Affairs and Consulate General of India have taken several steps to provide good medical facilities free of cost for Haj pilgrims,” the Ministry said.
It said a total of 1,36,020 pilgrims were expected to take part in Haj 2015, of whom 1,00,020 will be participating through Haj Committee of India and remaining 36,000 through private tour operators.
“We have established a 40-bed hospital in Makkah, 40-bed hospital in Azizia and a 10-bed hospital in Madinah. There are also 13 branch dispensaries in Makkah and 5 branch dispensaries in Madinah which are all located close to the pilgrims’ accommodation and open round-the-clock,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry has also dispatched medicines and medical equipment worth Rs 2 crores for use in these hospitals and dispensaries, which is provided free of cost to Haj pilgrims.
It has already deployed 134 doctors and 145 paramedics to provide specialised medical care.
It said deaths due to natural causes are a normal occurrence during Haj pilgrimage.
“Between Haj pilgrimage in 2009-2012 there were 250-300 deaths annually, due to natural causes. The numbers have declined to 177 in Haj 2013 and 152 in Haj 2014 due to better treatment for pilgrims in high-risk group and also a 20 per cent reduction in overall quota for India,” it said.