DVB Multimedia Group

Six Burmese dead, five still missing in wake of Hajj disaster

Muslim pilgrims fly a Burmese flag. (PHOTO: Yangon Makkah Travel & Tours)

Six Burmese nationals were among those who died in the stampede at the Islamic holy site of Mecca in Saudi Arabia last week, according to the Myanmar Hajj Committee.

Tin Maung Than, deputy-chairman of the committee that oversees permit allocations for the pilgrimage, said: “According to the latest update received, six Burmese pilgrims perished in the incident including two from Rangoon and one each from Bassein (Pathein), Tavoy (Dawei) and Hlegu.”

“Of the six others previously unaccounted for, one has been found at a hospital and the rest are being tracked down by their travel agents.”

Two Burmese pilgrims succumbed to their wounds and died on Monday, adding to the four that had died between Thursday and Saturday of last week, according to Yangon Makkah Travel & Tours Company.

The deadly stampede was triggered when two large crowds of pilgrims collided into each other at a crossroad in Mina, killing over 700 people on 24 September. The incident is believed to be the deadliest stampede at the Hajj in 25 years.

Tin Maung Than said around 4000 Burmese traveled to Mecca this year, joining some two million fellow Muslims from around the world.

Iran suffered the worst of the disaster, with 226 of its citizens killed and 246 still missing.

Tehran have demanded an apology from Saudi Arabia, amid accusations that the government did not do enough to prevent the disaster, and have failed to take responsibility in the wake of the tragedy.Riyadh in turn accused Tehran of playing politics.