Pilgrims arrive in Makkah to prepare for Hajj journey in holy sites

Spokesman of the Saudi Ministry of Interior Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said that the mission of bodies working in Hajj began since the arrival of pilgrims in the Kingdom through all ports.

Al-Turki said in a press conference here on Thursday that the arrival of pilgrims in Makkah was completed during the 7th day of Dhul-Hijjah in preparation for the start of the pilgrimage journey. He explained that the transfer of pilgrims to the holy sites is usually by buses, pointing out that many pilgrims opt to walk from the Grand Holy Mosque to Mina, and after their arrival in Mina.

The spokesman stated that there are about 350,000 pilgrims to be transported by the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line and 750,000 to 800,000 pilgrims to be transported by the shuttle bus system.

For his part, Spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Hatem Qadhi lauded the successful issuing of more than 1.8 million e-visas, saying that this step is a qualitative leap in facilitating the entry procedures for the pilgrims.

He also highlighted the success of Makkah Road initiative which has been applied in five countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Tunisia, pointing out that more than 150,000 pilgrims benefited from the initiative and arrived in the Kingdom as if they are on a domestic flight.

Qadhi said that more than 3,000 flights carrying pilgrims arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah. More than 800,000 pilgrims arrived in Madinah to greet the Prophet, peace be upon him, and visit the Prophet's Mosque and then head for Makkah.

The spokesman noted that as many as 25,000 buses transported the pilgrims from Madinah to Makkah without any accidents. He also stated that as many as 21,000 inspection tours were made to ensure the quality of services provided in Madinah and the holy sites, pointing out that the transporting of pilgrims from their dwellings in Makkah to Mina would begin tonight.

Qadhi said that the ministry is equipped with more than 70,000 skilled cadres to carry out the task of transporting pilgrims to Mina, in addition to 3,000 Saudi national volunteers. He indicated that the number of tents where the pilgrims will stay in Mina and Arafat exceeds 350,000 which are fully furnished and air-conditioned. All the services needed by the pilgrim will be available in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa.

For his part, Spokesman of the Public Security in Hajj Sami Al-Shwairkh said that the Hajj process is managed by the Command and Control Center of Hajj Security with the participation of all relevant government agencies providing services to pilgrims.

Al-Shwairkh explained that the Command and Control Center is linked with 5909 cameras that live broadcast the movement of pilgrims in the Grand Mosque, Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafa. He said the Center is also linked with six permanent security checkpoints, stressing that whoever does not carry a Hajj permit will not be allowed to proceed to Makkah.

He further said that the latest statistics issued yesterday indicated that 15,018 persons who did not have a Hajj permit were denied entry to Makkah and 209,741 vehicles were also not allowed to enter Makkah because they were violating Hajj regulations.

In turn, Spokesman of the Health Ministry Dr. Mohammed bin Khalid Al-Abdalali said that the health situation of pilgrims is reassuring and no epidemic cases have been recorded so far. He added that the ministry is providing health services during this year's Hajj season via 25 hospitals, 156 health centers, 17 emergency centers on Jamarat Bridge, 7 mobile clinics and 18 points providing health services in the Mashaer trains.

The spokesman also said that the services provided by the ministry in hospitals and health centers benefited 300,000 pilgrims. He affirmed that quality services were made available in these health facilities, where 25 open-heart operations, 600 cardiac catheterization operations, 1,615 dialysis sessions, 67 endoscopic operations and 400 surgeries were performed.

On his part, Civil Defense Spokesman Mohammed Al-Hammadi confirmed that the Civil Defense has prepared a comprehensive plan to be implemented by more than 17,000 civil defense personnel and over 3,000 vehicles to protect the lives and properties of pilgrims.

He said the Civil Defense has inspected the pilgrims' dwellings to ensure the provision of fire protection requirements, pointing out that the Civil Defense has issued licenses to 616 dwellings in Madinah and 4,246 others in Makkah to host pilgrims.

Al-Hammadi explained that the Preventive Supervision Team in the holy sites and Makkah conducted more than 25,104 field inspection tours to ensure the implementation of fire safety and protection measures, indicating that many awareness programs were held for pilgrims in different languages. He said that 1,500 volunteers have joined the civil defense.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

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