MAKKAH — Over 250 pilots and paramedics backed up by technicians and engineers are playing a pivotal role in responding to emergencies in Makkah. Saudi Gazette recently took a two-hour flight on board a security helicopter in Makkah to witness the preparedness of emergency personnel. The helicopter took off from King Fahd Airbase in Makkah and flew over the Grand Mosque and other sites at an altitude of 2,500 feet.
Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Harbi, commander of security aviation, said that security helicopters make six short flights every day over Makkah, a number which is expected to increase during the remaining days of Ramadan.
For Ramadan 27, which coincides with the date on which the Islamic Solidarity Summit will be held in Makkah, Al-Harbi said necessary plans were set to insure that security is maintained.
“We’ve made sure that helicopters are equipped with necessary medical equipment that can respond to any medical emergency during this critical period,” he said.
“So far this year, there hasn’t been an incident which required the intervention of helicopters,” said Al-Harbi.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Meqbil, director of Makkah Traffic Administration, said his administration has completed designing a plan which will ensure that traffic runs smoothly during the summit. New routes linking King Abdul Aziz International Airport with the Central Area of the Grand Mosque have been set.
“All delegations participating in the summit will be able to get to the summit venue and leave the city easily. The plan will control the movement of pilgrims and visitors in Makkah and prevent any form of traffic disruption,” he explained.
Col. Saeed Al-Qarni, director of traffic patrol forces in Makkah, said patrol vehicles will be dispatched to all main roads and routes that will be used by the delegations.
There are 19 high-ranking officers and 700 officers who will be responsible for the security situation during the summit. They will be stationed on the routes used by the delegations.
Special forces will be stationed in crowded places to maintain security and deal with any emergency on the spot. All of Makkah’s neighborhoods will be monitored and traffic will be controlled accordingly.