The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that there were no Sri Lankans among the Hajj pilgrims, who died in the stampede in Mina, 5 kilometers east of the Holy city of Mecca.
Acting Director General of the Ministry’s Public Communications Division Satya Rodrigo said that there were no reports of Sri Lankans being among the injured. He added that the officials at the Sri Lankan mission in Makkah region were in contact with Saudi authorities to verify if Sri Lankans are among those injured and affected by casualties.
In one of the worst-ever tragedies at the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the stampede killed at least 717 people and injured hundreds more at the hajj in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The crush which occurred at around 09.00am Saudi time, took place while two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other at an intersection close to the Jamarat Bridge. It is the valley where pilgrims practice the stoning of the devil.
Saudi Arabia is facing growing criticism over the deaths as the Saudi Health Ministry blamed pilgrims for ‘not following instructions’. It is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years and also the second disaster to strike Mecca in two weeks.