At least 88 Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims have died in the last one and half months during their stay in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj this year.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and the largest gathering of Muslims, started from August 10.
Muhammad Maqsudur Rahman, councillor (Hajj) of Bangladesh Hajj Mission in Saudi Arabia, told The Daily Star today that 90 per cent of the deceased were aged over 60 years, while five to six of them were younger.
Of the deceased, 77 are male and 11 female persons, said Maqsudur.
Most of the elderly Hajjis died of cardiac arrests, strokes and kidney failures while two died in a road accident and another pilgrim died falling off a hill at the religious site in Makkah, the Hajj councillor said.
Asked, Maqsudur said the elderly Hajj pilgrims, in most cases, died of different ailments and health complications.
He further said Bangladeshi doctors were providing round-the-clock health services to all Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims and have the required stock of medicines.
All the deceased were buried in Saudi Arabia as per the will of their family members, Maqsudur said.
He, however added that there is no bar from the Saudi authorities if family members of any deceased want to bring back their near and dear ones and bury them in the country.
A total of 145 Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims died in 2018, while 162 died in 2017 and 191 in 2016, he said.
This year, some 1,26,923 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed Hajj.
Meanwhile, Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines have started operating their return Hajj flights from August 17 which will continue till September 15, said Tasnim Akhter, manager (public relations) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
For the first time, the immigration formalities of nearly half of Bangladeshi pilgrims were completed in Dhaka this year.
Earlier, all immigration formalities for Bangladeshi pilgrims had to be completed in Saudi Arabia causing huge sufferings, specially for elderly Hajj aspirants due to long delay for completing the formalities.