Pilgrims leave Mina after five-day stay

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Saudi Gazette

MINA — Over two million pilgrims on Sunday entered their second Tashriq day during which they continued throwing stones at the devil for the second day and left for Makkah to do Tawaf Al-Wada (farewell circumambulation) and prepare either to go to Madinah or leave for home.

The Haj will be officially over on Monday. A large number of pilgrims visited Madinah before the Haj to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and pray in his mosque while many of them prefer to do this after the completion of their Haj rites.

The pilgrims, who are in a rush, usually leave Mina for Makkah before sunset on the second Tashriq day or else they will have to stay an extra day in Mina and have to pebble the devil. The majority of the pilgrims have already vacated Mina, which looks deserted after bustling with life for five days from Wednesday.

According to security sources, the stoning of the devil went smooth and there were no cases of stampede or injuries. About 500 cameras were planted at the Jamarat area to monitor the movement of the pilgrims and report any emergency cases.

There are more than 6,000 surveillance cameras erected in the holy sites to watch for any violations and more than 300,000 military and civil personnel deployed to provide services to the Guests of God.

Three Inspire 2 drones are surveilling the holy sites 24 hours a day to transmit photos to the security control and command center for any necessary action to be taken.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has set Dhul Hijja 15 (Sept. 6) as the date for the first Haj return flight to take the pilgrims back to their respective homes.

The ministry, according to informed sources, had informed all the air transport companies that the return flights would only start on Wednesday after it had completed the execution of all its grouping and organizational plans.

The ministry made it a commitment on the air companies and the Tawafa establishments to attend its workshops to get acquainted with its plans aimed at ensuring the safety and comfort of the pilgrims.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health said as many as 10,531 pilgrims received medical treatment at its four general hospitals in Mina while 27,726 were treated at its 26 health centers.

It said 1,649 pilgrims were received at the emergency wards and 7,588 by the outpatient clinics. The ministry said 402 hospitalized pilgrims were transported by health caravan to Arafat, 391 were admitted to the hospitals, 867 were treated from heat exhaustion and 375 suffered sunstrokes.

Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced Sunday that this year's Haj season is free from epidemic diseases and that all pilgrims are healthy. He made this statement during a press conference held today at Mina Emergency Hospital in Mina.

Dr. Al-Rabiah said: "In implementation of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the Crown Prince, the Ministry of Health has mobilized its human, material and mechanical capabilities to provide its preventive and therapeutic services for the pilgrims so that they can perform Haj rituals easily."

Dr. Al-Rabiah also said that during this year's Haj season, the Ministry of Health equipped 25 hospitals in Makkah, the holy places and Madinah and 158 health centers with 31,000 health practitioners and administrators. He added that the health teams provided vaccine and preventive treatment against polio and meningitis to more than 700,000 pilgrims.

He also reviewed several achievements accomplished by the ministry during this year's Haj season, saying that medical and therapeutic services were provided to more than 465,738 pilgrims; and 566 cardiac catheterizations, 28 open heart surgeries and 1,520 renal dialyses were performed.

Dr. Al-Rabiah stressed that developing the Haj and Umrah facilities of the Ministry of Health is a top strategic priority for the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and is an extension of the Kingdom’s historical role in serving Islam and Muslims so as to keep pace with Kingdom Vision 2030.

The objective is also to provide an integrated strategy for developing the Haj and Umrah facilities in various fields of health and give opportunity to a bigger number of Muslims to perform Haj. He added that the Kingdom has successfully managed the biggest Haj season, as two million pilgrims performed their Haj rites with ease.

Al-Rabiah said the ministry is striving to keep up with Kingdom Vision 2030 by developing and increasing its health facilities in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites so that they will be able to accommodate 30 million Haj and Umrah pilgrims in the coming years.

The WHO representative in the Kingdom Dr. Ibrahim Al-Zeeq said during the press conference that the WHO had approved the preventive and combat measures taken by the Saudi Ministry of Health to ensure pilgrims’ safety.

He said these measures have proved their effectiveness with the conclusion of the Haj season free of any epidemics or any other public health problems.

He added that the high temperatures were the cause for a rise in heat exhaustion cases. However, the Ministry of Health was fully ready with measures to reduce body temperatures and treat patients immediately.

Meanwhile, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih praised the electrical operation plan implemented by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) during this year's Haj season.

This came during a visit to the company's operations and control center in Mina on Saturday, evening. Al-Falih congratulated all 1,500 technical and administrative workers participating in the Haj season for the success achieved so far in implementing the electrical operation plan.

Al-Falih stressed that the new Saudi Electricity projects worth more than SR4.25 billion have contributed to supporting the electricity service in the holy places.

He also stressed that the impressive success would not have been achieved without the unlimited support from the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince.

It is noteworthy that the electrical network in Makkah, Madinah and the holy places witnessed a stable performance during this year's Haj season, despite the increase in electrical loads compared to last year, which reached a historic peak load of 4626 MW.

The Public Security helicopters carried out over 413 flying hours via 517 flights until the end of Dhul Hijja 11, within the services being provided by the various security sectors working in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites during the 1438H (2017) Haj season, Air Force Maj. Gen. Muhammad Eid Al-Harbi, commander of Security Aviation said Sunday.

The Public Security helicopters are continuing their reconnaissance flights Sunday to monitor the movement of pilgrims, who are in a hurry to leave Mina holy site, as well as movement in Makkah and during their departure from Makkah for their home countries after successfully performing their Haj rites.

The Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Turkey and Muslims of Europe, America and Australia has imposed high quality health standards on the meals it provides to its pilgrims this Haj season, member of the Board of Directors and Supervisor of the Catering and Training Sector Muhammad Faisal Bu-Hirs said Sunday.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif, minister of interior and chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, lauded the work carried out by the scouts in serving the pilgrims. He considered the scouts movement to be among the most important in making the best use of the youth’s time in serving their religion and nation. He lauded the scouts’ internal and external programs.

This statement was made at a reception the Interior Minister gave to the Kingdom’s scouts who participated in this year’s Haj. The scouts were led by e Deputy Chairman of Saudi Arabian Scouts Dr. Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Fahd.

Al-Fahd briefed Prince Abdulaziz on the functions of scouts during this year’s Haj, most prominent of which is serving lost pilgrims. He said that over 11,554 pilgrims were taken back to their camps while 120,220 were guided. He added that the scouts contributed to the grouping of over 700,000 pilgrims so as to proceed to the symbolic ‘stoning of the Satan” at the Jamarat Bridge.

The scouts volunteering in Haj have guided 51,118 lost pilgrims of various nationalities on Saturday, the first day of Tashriq. Of these, 4,695 were taken to their camps while 46,423 were guided with the help of explanation using guidance maps. Some 1,200 scouts worked in nine guidance centers in Mina.

The various authorities and agencies concerned with serving the pilgrims have started implementing their operation and field plans and mobilizing their workforce for the second Haj season for 1438H with the arrival of pilgrims in Madinah after performing their Haj rites in Makkah and the holy sites.

In statements they gave to SPA, several heads of Islamic education institutions and centers in a number of European countries have lauded the great efforts exerted by the Kingdom’s government under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to enable the pilgrims to perform their Haj and Umrah rites with ease, comfort, peace of mind, security and safety.

They expressed their profound thanks and great appreciation for the Kingdom’s constant policy since its founding until today in serving Islam in different fields and supporting the causes of the Arab and Muslim Ummah. They also lauded the Kingdom’s unwavering keenness and concern to unify Muslims’ ranks.

These included the Chairman of the Imams Council in Spain Dr. Muhammad Kamal Mustafa; the Director of the European Islamic Institute in Brussels, Belgium, Sheikh Abduhadi Buswaif; Executive Director of the Scandinavian Al-Risalah Endowment in Sweden Hussein Al-Dawoodi; Director of the European Islamic Institute in Brussels; and Director of the Strasbourg Grand Mosque in France Shuaib Sukkari.

A total of 884,000 heads of sheep and 446 heads of cattle have been slaughtered until Sunday in the Kingdom’s Project for Benefiting from the Hadiy and Adahi sacrificial animals.


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