Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa presented a preliminary report regarding Egypt’s official pilgrimage mission to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, pending the release of a final report following the return of all Egyptian pilgrims, according to a cabinet statement Sunday.
Following the meeting, Gomaa organised a press conference to discuss different aspects of this year’s pilgrimage and the latest numbers of deaths and injuries in the Mina stampede accident.
The number of Egyptian deaths in the Mina stampede accident rose to 138, while the number of missing pilgrims decreased to 96 from the previously reported 120.
The minister added that the number of injuries has reached 17 cases. Figures are to be further confirmed upon the arrival of the Egyptian Minister of Health from Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Regarding the injuries, Gomaa affirmed that patients are receiving “optimal medical care” in Saudi hospitals, and are being continuously inspected by the Egyptian medical delegation.
The minister denied rumours regarding “mass burials” taking place for deceased pilgrims, and clarified that the Egyptian consulate is coordinating with Saudi authorities regarding the matter in order to ensure the legality of the burials.
Identities of the deceased or the injured are easily recognised as their data is registered, according to the minister. However, the problem exists with identifying individual pilgrims or resident pilgrims.
Furthermore, the minister states that five tourism companies involved in this year’s pilgrimage season have been referred to investigation. The names of the companies, as well as the penalties agreed upon, will be announced when the investigation comes to an end.
The Supreme Pilgrimage Committee will host a meeting with the Prime Minister and all ministers concerned to discuss all aspects related to this year’s pilgrimage and to allocate future roles for each party, as announced by the Minister of Religious Endowments.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also ordered all Egyptian representatives from the official mission to remain in Saudi Arabia until 16 October, when all Egyptian pilgrims will have returned.