Hajj Stampede Incident 1990 which took 1426 lives

On July 2, 1990, a stampede occurred during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The death toll in this stampede was recorded at 1426 people. This incident held the highest death toll of all the Hajj tragedies of modern times.

What went wrong?

The main stampede started inside the pedestrian tunnel known as the Al Maaisim Tunnel, which leads towards Mina and the plains of Arafat from Mecca. The pedestrian tunnel is 600 yards long and has a width of 35 feet. The tunnel was 1 part of a $ 15 Billion project started by the Saudi Government around the Holy site of Makkah.

While the pilgrims had been traveling to perform the ritual of the stoning of the devil, a stampede erupted when the bridge railing bent. It caused several people to fall off the bridge, and some even fell on top of others trying to escape.

What went wrong inside the tunnel?

The tunnel had a maximum capacity of 1000 people; however, at that time, around 5000 people occupied the tunnel. The temperature also reached 44 degrees C, which resulted in the ventilation system of the tunnel malfunctioning, which added to the overall death toll of the incident.

Some witnesses at the scene stated that the demonstration was taking place, while others reported that the tunnel’s power supply was cut off. The official version from Saudi Arabia stated that the crowd’s hysteria, which occurred due to the falling pilgrims, was the main cause of many deaths.

2068 Hajj Stampede Incident 1990 which took 1426 lives

The nationalities of pilgrims who died

Most pilgrims who died that day were Pakistani, Indonesian, and Malaysian. Immediately after the incident, the Late King Fahd stated that the incident which occurred was the will of God, which is above everything else. The Late King also added that if the pilgrims had not died here, then they would have died in some other place at the same predestined moment.

Around 680 people out of the total death toll belonged to Indonesia, which resulted in the Indonesian government severely criticizing the Government of Saudi Arabia. The Indonesian officials stated that the Saudi Government could not run from their responsibility for the disaster in the tunnel by simply saying that the incident was an act of God.

Iran also expressed grave concerns after the incident, although not quite to the same level seen in the protests before the 1987 incident, which ultimately led to 400 Shia pilgrims losing their lives during the pilgrimage.

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