UPDATE 3.20pm September 24: Saudi authorities have risen the number of people who died on Thursday morning (September 24) in a stampede on the outskirts of Mecca to at least 717 and have reported hundreds more, an estimated 800, have been injured.
About 4,000 rescue workers and 220 ambulances are reported to be at the scene as pictures on social media show dozens of bodies littering Street 204, one of the main roads through the Mina pilgrim camp.
– Original story –
AT LEAST 220 people have died and another 450 have been injured in a stampede on Thursday (September 24) in the Mina valley during the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Saudi Arabian Civil Defence Department has announced.
“The numbers have increased to 220 dead and 450 injured,” the department stated on its official Twitter account, as Al Yazira TV station explained that the stampede took place in a busy transit area in the Mina valley rather than at the place where, by tradition, pilgrims stop to symbolically stone Satan.
Hajj, the traditional annual pilgrimage to Mecca, began on Tuesday and Saudi authorities have prepared for an estimated two million pilgrims.
Emergency services continue to carry out rescue and evacuation of pilgrims from the area, where two evacuation points have been set up.
The incident follows another on September 11 when a crane collapsed onto Mecca’s Great Mosque, killing 111 people, and two fires at nearby hotels have resulted in six minor injuries and 2,500 pilgrims being evacuated during the last week.