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Americans among those killed from the heat during the Haj

If you are planning to participate in this year's annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the Haj, you might want to rethink those plans. The heat this year has been extreme, even by Middle East standards. Over a thousand pilgrims have already died. Among the dead are Americans.

A Maryland couple, Alhaji Alieu Dausy, age 71, and his wife, Haja Isatu Wurie, age 65, left their home two weeks ago and unfortunately both perished from the heat wave.

Their daughter Saida Wurie told DC News, ""My parents meant the world to me. Anyone who knows me knows that they were my rock and soul. It was just hard to hear, I'm still not able to truly comprehend it. So it's going to be one day at a time."

The couple were among a group of nearly 100 other pilgrims that traveled with a touring company called "Ehajj and Umrah Tour."

Wurie said that her parents were poorly served by the company which did not provide them with the credentials needed to complete their pilgrimage and lacked transportation, food and supplies needed during their week-long journey.

"After a few days, they had to fend for themselves," said Wurie. "They had to buy a rice cooker to make breakfast, lunch and dinner just to survive. It's already 110 degrees, and you're not in decent conditions, it's just too much. I just hope that the agency isn't allowed to take anyone there, especially after each person paid "$11,500...[T]he return was nothing compared to what they expected."

Wurie said that she is consoled somewhat by the fact that her parents were on pilgrimage.

"Knowing that this is what they really want to do, and they died in such a holy place. It gives me a little bit of ease," she said.

Every Muslim is required to make the Haj once in their lifetimes.

The couple are survived by three children and four grandchildren.

The couple were buried before the family was notified. They are working with Saudi authorities to identify their graves.

Mecca is the birthplace of the prophet Muhammed, who founded Islam, and is considered the holiest place in the world by a city in the world by Muslims.

The death toll has climbed to over 1,300 – and that is expected to rise due to the extreme temperatures that have topped 124 degrees F.

Thus far only two Americans have been identified among the dead. The pilgrims spend five to six days in a journey of hiking and prayer. Among the fatalities are than 650 Egyptians. A senior Saudi official told the Associated Press that the deaths are due to "misjudgment on the part of people who did not appreciate the risks."

The Saudi Health Ministry has issued a severe heatwave warning.

An estimated 1.8 million Muslims traveled through Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj from June 14 to 19.

There are over 3.5 million American Muslims.

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