Saudi Arabian authorities are using DNA testing techniques in order to identify the bodies of those who died in the Mina stampede on 24 September, said Minister of Health and Population Ahmed Radi on Sunday.
The minister noted that DNA taken from fingernails has been chosen as the most accurate method to obtain information, but that the process takes a fortnight from the day of collection.
The Egyptian consulate in Jeddah is engaged in a review of the Mina stampede, according to a Monday statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, providing ongoing support for those affected by deaths, injuries and disappearances.
According to the Consul General Adel Al Alfi, 146 Egyptians died in the stampede, while 92 Egyptians are missing, and 11 were injured. The consul said they are coordinating for those who are affected with Saudi authorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that its officials will handle the information from DNA testing in order to sort through the deceased and is taking care of the costs involved.
In a Sunday press release, the Ministry of Religious Endowments denied rumours that mass burials took place. The ministry said that all burials have been legal and conducted after proper documentations of all the bodies, including the DNA sampling.
The ministry said that, due to the DNA testing, there has been no problem in identifying the unclaimed bodies.
Egyptian authorities have been strongly criticised by the families of those affected in the stampede. On Sunday, family members spoke at a conference at Cairo’s Press Syndicate to identify the failings of the government’s response and support in finding their relatives.
One individual, Ibrahim El-Garady was not able to find his brother, Sobhy Mohamed El-Garady, and his mother, Tasaneim Abd El-Rahman.
“Although I would like to thank the Egyptian youth, who live in Mecca, for voluntarily helping us to find our relatives, I did not find any assistance from the side of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Religious Endowments,” he said.
El-Garady added that he went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he was mistreated by a consul there, who refused to give him any details on the incident or about the official procedures they are undertaking in that regard.