Deadly Hajj – Norwegian Nasser has never experienced such heat before

Deadly Hajj – Norwegian Nasser has never experienced such heat before

“I have never experienced such intense heat in my life,” says Nasir Ahmed, about the Muslim holiday he has just participated in.

Extreme temperatures, sometimes exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, are said to have killed more than 1,000 people this year. Goodbye In Saudi Arabia, according to an Agence France-Presse census.

The news agency reported that the vast majority of them suffered heatstroke.

More than 1.8 million Muslims are in Mecca to perform the Hajj, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

One of them is city council politician and father's man, Nasir Ahmed from Oslo.

– I saw many people who lost consciousness in front of me, Ahmed, who is still in Mecca, tells NRK.

Mecca was very crowded during the Hajj season this year. Nasir Ahmed felt it himself. Here during an important Hajj ritual.

One of the people I was traveling with had to go to the hospital

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to NRK that about 50 Norwegians have registered their presence in Saudi Arabia. Ahmed says he is traveling with a group of about 100 other Norwegians.

There is no obligation to register when traveling abroad.

The Foreign Office also wrote that they had no indication that there would be Norwegians among the dead.

According to Agence France-Presse, it is assumed that a large number of those killed were elderly pilgrims from various countries. Most of them will be from Egypt and Indonesia.

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-One of the people I am traveling with had to go to the hospital due to exhaustion, but things went well. Ahmed says everyone is doing well now.


According to Agence France-Presse, several thousand people lost consciousness and had to be assisted by health workers. This is not the Norwegian person who had to undergo health supervision.

Photography: Fadel Sina/Agence France-Presse

Clothes smell burnt

To explain the heat, Ahmed tells of a special smell that appeared while he was waiting for his wife outside on the runway.

– When I stood there. Suddenly there was a burning smell in my clothes. Just like you do when you're ironing, he says. The ruler on Snapchat then showed 43 degrees.


When Ahmed sent this photo via Snapchat to his friends and family, he almost felt the smell of his clothes burning.

Photo: private

– It will test your patience

The Hajj consists of a series of rituals that must be performed by hundreds of thousands almost simultaneously.

Hajj is one of the five important pillars of Islam.

– There are huge crowds. So you have to test your patience. There are difficult rituals and you have to go far.

Nearly two million Muslims gathered in Mecca last week.

Nearly two million people gathered in Mecca last week.

Photography: Fadel Sina/Agence France-Presse

From Friday to Monday last weekend, Ahmed and his accompanying delegation lived in tents in the desert. Although the tents were air-conditioned, Ahmed witnessed something very special.

-We were lying on our sleeping mats, but the ground was about to boil. “I stayed up almost all night,” he says.

Ahmed says that despite the heat, he does not regret completing the trip.

– Personally, I had an absolutely incredible trip. It has been a lot of passion, effort and patience. I had to test my patience and willpower.

Many measures have been taken in Mecca this year to prevent heatstroke.

Praise the authorities

Ahmed believes that there are several reasons behind the death of many.

-The combination of too many people, the intense heat, and the fact that it's piling up makes you exhausted, thirsty, and unconscious. “We in the Norwegian group have kept a lot for ourselves,” he says.

Saudi Hajj

Large sprinkler systems spray cold water on many Muslims.

Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Although the weather was hot and many suffered, Ahmed is keen to praise the Saudi authorities.

– They are very strict. The authorities and volunteers were good at controlling the situation. They gave us plenty of water and kept us cool. So for many things went very well. He says they've been good at keeping the flow of people going.

The Saudi authorities did not comment on the number of deaths.

06/20/2024 at 17.52

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

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