Death toll in Mina stampede rises to 717; over 850 injured

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Updated 25 September 2015
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Death toll in Mina stampede rises to 717; over 850 injured

MINA: The death toll in the Thursday morning stampede in Mina has risen to 717 and officials expressed fears that the number could still increase. The Directorate for Civil Defense said 863 more pilgrims have been injured.
The stampede happened as pilgrims, numbering about two million, were on their way to the Jamrat to perform the "stoning of the Devil" ritual of Haj. The exact cause of the accident could not be determined immediately. 
Most of the victims were Arabs and Africans, officials said. Many of the injured were in semiconscious state. The harsh summer weather has only added to the problem. The injured were not in a position to speak.
Sirens wailed and helicopters hovered overhead as dozens of ambulances brought in victim after victim in the holy valley of Mina.
At Mina Emergency Hospital, one of four facilities treating victims, a helicopter landed as ambulances arrived one after the other.
Injured pilgrims were brought in on stretchers, wearing chest badges giving their personal details, as security officers ushered away passers-by trying to gawk.
“Everybody is dizzy, Haji. Take them to any another health center,” a security officer shouted as two more ambulances arrived at once, bringing in more victims of the stampede.
While some pilgrims recounted news of the incident to each other, there were others who appeared completely unaware that there had been a tragedy.
Amateur video shared on social media showed a horrific scene, with scores of bodies — the men dressed in the simple terry cloth garments worn during Haj — lying amid crushed wheelchairs and water bottles along a sunbaked street.
Pictures taken later by Arab News photographers showed bodies piled on top of each other near a gate leading to the Jamrat.
Survivors assessed the scene from the top of roadside stalls near white tents as rescue workers in orange and yellow vests combed the area.
Because of the tragedy, security officials closed the Jamrat area, where the pilgrims have to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual. The Jamrat has seen stampedes in the past. But the Saudi authorities have expanded the area by constructing a multilayered complex to ease the flow of pilgrims.
The pilgrims had spent the night in Muzdalifa and had come to Mina to throw seven pea-sized stoned at one of the three wall-like structures.
Some 2 million people are taking part in this year’s Haj pilgrimage, which began Tuesday.
The stampede was the deadliest disaster at the Haj since 2006, when more than 360 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in the same area. Another stampede at Mina in 2004 left 244 pilgrims dead and hundreds injured.
Thursday’s stampede happened less than two weeks after a giant construction crane came crashing down on the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the focal point of the Haj.
That accident, on Sept. 11, killed at least 111 people and injured more than 390. Authorities blamed the crane collapse on high winds during an unusually powerful storm.
 
 
 


Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

Updated 59 sec ago
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Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

DUBAI: Italy’s Versace played with bold prints, patchwork and leather in its Spring/Summer 2019 women’s collection in a star-studded show on Friday, the third day of Milan’s fashion week.
Dutch-Moroccan-Egyptian model Imaan Hammam, who has walked for the fashion house before, took to the runway in an elaborated denim pantsuit emblazoned with Versace’s flagship prints in neon colors.
Meanwhile, celebrity model Bella Hadid, who walked the show with sister Gigi, wore a tight one-shouldered mini dress in yellow leather and matching sneakers.
Singers Leona Lewis, Nicki Minaj and Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni were all in the front row of an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, Reuters reported.
Pale yellow walls formed a background to a carpeted floor that echoed some of the prints used in the collection — colored stripes, bright flowers over pinstripes, checks, roses and small flowers mimicking animal prints.
“The style of the Versace woman is so recognizable that it need not be explained. She is not afraid of showing her personality and she is extremely feminine and confident,” read a style note by the fashion house, known for its daring designs.
Close-fitting silhouettes, ruched flared trousers and layered looks, with tulle mini-dresses paired with silk-printed longer ones, designed by Artistic Director and Vice President Donatella Versace, paraded down the catwalk in orange, violet and lime colors.
“The all-over prints of the clothes are overlapped with neat nonchalance,” the note said.
For the evening, Versace flaunted a black satin tuxedo paired with flared trousers, or knee-length leather skirts with golden buttons.
Nineties supermodel Shalom Harlow closed the show, donning a long tulle dress with colorful flower embellishments that flared out in a transparent, sparkly black skirt.
Some of the models carried big boxed bags that echoed old-fashioned travel trunks, or large PVC shopping bags emblazoned with Versace writing. On their feet they wore chunky sneakers, college shoes, or square-heeled sandals, while their ears featured big flower-shaped ear-cuffs matched with hairpins.
The brand with the famed Medusa logo said that her “mystic powers and ever-powerful persona are evident now more than ever,” according to the show notes.
Fake snakeskin, flowers, polished leather and layer upon layer, the Versace collection was eclectic and refined, AFP noted in its review.