Home | News    Saturday 8 November 2003

31 people suffocate in crush for Ramadan aid in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Nov 8 (AFP) — Thirty-one people were killed and 46 others injured in the northeastern city of Port Sudan when a crowd rushed to collect charity donations, a minister told AFP Saturday.

Red Sea State Health Minister Sadek al-Milaik said scores of poor rushed to collect "zakat" — or Islamic alms — being distributed by an association of benevolent businessmen.

"The place was too small for the crowd of the poor people, many of them beggars, a situation that resulted in the death of 31 people of suffocation," Milaik said by telephone from the city.

He said that among the dead were 16 women and 10 children. He added that a "large number" of people had gathered to receive the alms.

Zakat is a pillar of Islam. It is the amount of money that every adult, mentally stable, free, and financially able has to pay in charity every year.

Each Muslim calculates their own zakat individually, but it is usually 2.5 percent of their capital.

Many Muslims prefer to give zakat during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.