Death Toll From Hajj Stampede Reaches 2,411 in New Estimate – The New York Times

The latest figure, 2,411, reported by The Associated Press, was based on what the agency described as its updated compilation from state news reports and official remarks from 36 of the more than 180 countries where pilgrims had traveled from. If confirmed, the toll would make the stampede the worst in the history of the hajj, the annual five-day pilgrimage that Muslims aspire to complete at least once.

The A.P. and other global news agencies, including Reuters and Agence France-Presse, have been periodically increasing their estimated death tolls since the Sept. 24 stampede, based on the same general methodologies of compiling official figures from the victims’ home countries.

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The Saudis, by contrast, have asserted almost from the beginning that 769 pilgrims died in the stampede, which took place about three miles east of Mecca, when crowds became trapped on narrow streets. While the Saudi king, Salman, ordered an immediate investigation, there has been no update on its progress.

Nor has there been any clarity from the Saudis regarding the initial contradictory accounts of what happened. Some officials at first appeared to blame the victims saying they did not follow instructions, but witnesses described exits closed inexplicably that might have induced a panic.

A virtual news blackout on the disaster has prevailed in Saudi Arabia’s news media since.

via Death Toll From Hajj Stampede Reaches 2,411 in New Estimate – The New York Times.

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About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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