A myriad of incidents in regards to crowd crushes have occurred in the past during the time of Hajj and the question arises that how they usually occur in the first place?

The major kinds of stampede accidents occur due to two main situations; a progressive crowd collapse and a crowd crush. A progressive crowd collapse is one where a person falls; either by slipping or through a crowd shock wave. In this case, the people behind are knocked over if they are trying to pass or help out the victim, becoming victims themselves. This results in creating an even bigger space with more people being forged into space, piled high on top of each other until the crowd disperses. On the other hand, the other kind of stampede results from crowd crushes. These refer to the instances whereby people are suffocated such that they are unable to inflate their lungs, resulting in gradual deaths due to compressive asphyxiation. It is when a large number of people are confined to a small area, either on their way in or out. The highest number of deaths reported in cases like these are of those against the wall. A major incident of a crowd crush was witnessed in Hillsborough in 1989.

A number of Hajj-related crowd crush disasters have taken place in the past, with approximately 1,426 people being victims of suffocation and stomped to death in the tunnel tragedy of 1990. Moreover, between 1991 and 2005; more than 701 people got killed in crowd crushes. Similarly, an incident of Jamaraat in 2006 caused 364 people to be killed; prompting the Saudi government to work on the infrastructure of the city and improve its procession routes.

One of the most crucial accidents which took place during Hajj is the Mina Stampede of 2015. It led to severe casualties whereby various people became victims of deaths and injuries. People from both sides were heading towards their opposite directions leading to a chaotic situation whereby people suddenly started trampling over. Approximately 2,000 pilgrims became the target of this marked tragedy. Estimated number of deaths may have varied.

To avoid becoming a victim of such horrendous disasters; it is essential that some measures are taken into account on an individual level. First, one should be aware of the surroundings at all times. Secondly, one should look ahead and listen to the crowd noise carefully during the Hajj Ritual. Once a crowd surge is suspected, an individual should wait for it and go with it. People should keep moving and shift slightly sideways from time to time in order to avoid becoming an unfortunate victim of a massive crowd influx. Furthermore, proper traffic management systems need to be incorporated by the authorities. One can only take a precautionary measure on an individual level as specified and be less hasty such that all the people should act with patience.

We hope that those planning to perform Hajj this year incorporate the required measures during the pilgrimage on an individual level. May Allah (SWT) give us all the strength and let us perform Hajj safely.

You can now watch Hajj Live so that you don't miss out!

The author

Rida Ghaffar