Mina: At least 717 people, including 14 Indians, have been killed in the stampede during Haj at Mina near holy city of Mecca on Thursday. It is the worst tragedy that has hit the world's holiest Muslim pilgrimage in 25 years.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday quoted India's Consul General in Jeddah as saying that at least 14 Indian lives have been lost in the deadly stampede. However, the exact number of deaths will be confirmed by the Saudi authorities later.
Swaraj further said that 13 injured are undergoing treatment in a hospital in Saudi Arabia.
The Indian government has issued helpline numbers for the kith and kin of those Indians who are currently in Saudi Arabia.
The emergency numbers in Mecca are:
Toll free number for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia: 8002477786
Swaraj, on the social networking website Twitter, assured of all help to the Indian nationals there.
“Two of our officials have reached the site of accident. We are in constant touch with them,” the Union Minister tweeted.
Our Consul General Jeddah reports loss of 14 Indian lives in stampede. We have 13 injured in hospital. #Mecca
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) September 25, 2015
We will provide all help to Indian nationals.Two of our officials have reached the site of accident. We are in constant touch with them.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) September 24, 2015
With some 136,000 pilgrims from India, the Indian government said it was closely monitoring the situation. Thursday's stampede took place barely two weeks after a massive crane fell in Makkah's grand mosque, killing over 100 people and injuring over 200. Eleven of the dead were Indians.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now in the US, condoled the loss of lives. "Distressing news from Mecca. Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede. Condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured."