Mina stampede deaths rise to 769

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Updated 27 September 2015
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Mina stampede deaths rise to 769

 

MAKKAH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Saturday said the number of pilgrims who died in Thursday’s stampede in Mina has risen to 769.
Al-Falih said the number of injured has also jumped to 934, of which many are still confined in hospitals.
“The latest statistics up to this hour reveal 769 dead. That is an increase of 52 on the previous figures,” he told a press conference. “Those are the ones who died in various hospitals since the event,” he said.
Iran has reported the biggest number of deaths at 136, with Morocco coming next with 87.
The other confirmed deaths, compiled by Agence France Presse, were from Cameroon, 20; Niger, 19: India, 18; Egypt, 14; Chad, 11; Pakistan, 9; Somalia, 8; Algeria, 7; Senegal, 5; Tanzania, 4; Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria, 3 each; and Burkina Faso, Burundi and the Netherlands, 1 each.
Five Filipinos were also reported to have died in Makkah, but only one was caused by the stampede. The others died of illnesses aggravated by the heat, officials said.
Benin had also reported deaths but the number was unspecified.
Thursday’s stampede is the second worst in a number of tragedies to strike the pilgrimage, surpassed only by that of July 2, 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia, died during a stampede in a tunnel at Mina after a ventilation system failure.
 
Iran blame game
On Saturday, Iran, which has been accused by Gulf states of fomenting troubles in the Middle East, including Yemen, Iraq and Syria, stepped up its blame game rhetoric by accusing Saudi authorities of mismanaging the crowd in Mina. Iranians also protested in the Islamic Republic on Friday.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, chairman of the Haj Supreme Committee, had earlier ordered the formation of an investigation committee to determine the causes of the stampede. Its findings would be submitted to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
But Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said he was not holding authorities responsible for the disaster. Security officers and witnesses have been quoted in reports as saying Thursday’s stampede happened when two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina.
“You are not responsible for what happened. You dealt with the beneficial factors that were in your hands and within your ability. As for the things that humans cannot control, you cannot blamed for them. Fate and destiny are inevitable,” Al-Sheikh said in a televised statement.
Al-Sheikh also appeared to deflect criticisms of the kingdom from outside as a product of “envy.”
“Many are envious of the kingdom for its religion, leadership, economy and the cohesion of its members, and for the great blessings it has experienced, unlike many other countries,” he said. 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday came to Saudi Arabia’s defense. “I do not sympathize with the hostile statements against Saudi Arabia,” he told journalists in Ankara.
The Turkish leader said that it would be wrong to “point a finger at Saudi Arabia which does its best” to make the annual Haj pilgrimage possible.
“You have to see the glass as half full,” he said, adding that each country suffers failures.
 
 

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Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.