Stampeding Haj pilgrims at Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque has left 717 killed and more than 860 injured. According to Arab News (a Saudi journal):
Security officials and eyewitnesses have been reported saying the stampede happened because one set of pilgrims who have already completed the 'stoning the devil' ritual at the Jamarat pushed their way through a gate designated as an entrance, instead of exiting through the proper gate.
The PBS NewsHour (on US television), on September 24, ran a clip showing the Saudi Health Minister mixing explanations:
The accident was caused by overcrowding and also by some of the pilgrims not following the movement instructions of the security and the hajj ministry. However, this is God's will.
On September 11 a crane fell onto a crowd at the Grand Mosque, killing 109 people. Saudi Arabia is reported as spending billions of dollars to expand the Grand Mosque to accommodate "the growing number of pilgrims (population increases) and to make it easier and more convenient for them to perform Haj."
In the most recent tragedy, yesterday, 95 Shia pilgrims died with the Sunni victims. According to Aljazeera News, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has expressed his displeasure with Saudi Arabia's "mismanagement" and has declared three days of mourning.
Also today, www.worldmeter.info shows the number of births for the day at the usual 2.4 times the number of deaths. The world's population will have increased today by something like 210,000. Tomorrow the meter will have the world's population passing 7.370 billion.
Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.