Friday, September 25, 2015

Mecca Hajj Stampede Caused By Officials Closing Gates On Pilgrims

What caused the Mina Hajj stampede?  That is the big question on everyone's lips.  
Inexperience or Simply Confusion? 
Saudi Officials are blaming african pilgrim as being the cause of the stampede, with the novice pilgrims not following guidelines and trying to take shortcuts and undertake the journey on their own.

Questions being bandied about include: "Could there have been too much impatience on the part of the pilgrims"?  Could it have been the heat that caused the stampede?  Were the pilgrims pushing each other too hard? Could it have been the first timers who were rushing to complete the rituals, not being patient and were pushing others? Could it have been pilgrims pushing each other in different directions?  Those heading to the Jamarat Bridge and those coming from the bridge pushing each other in different directions?

Sources are saying the Saudi officials closed the gates of the bridge thus preventing free and fluid movement which led to the stampede as can be seen in the picture above.

Journalist and blogger El Katatney who was at the scene of the stampede told CNN there was carnage everywhere. The journey to the bridge is grueling on its own and the temperatures were high.  I was out there for over 2 hours taking pictures.  Standing in the sun makes you dizzy and faint.  As our group headed back taking road 204, another group was heading to the bridge taking road 206 and our paths crossed.  Heavy pushing ensued.  It was horrendous.  They pushed, shoved, panicked and screamed.  She said other pilgrims said that if you were not strong enough to withstand the pushing and shoving in the stampede, chances were that if you fell, you were not going to rise up again.

The stampede is being blamed on inexperience and confusion on the part of both the pilgrims and the officials.    Jamal Kashogi of El Arab TV told CNN that if any mistake happens or a group of people make the wrong turn, that would cause a disaster and that was exactly what happened. 

It still looks to me as if the crowds were not properly managed.

Story culled from CNN

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