215,000 pilgrims provided healthcare during Hajj

June 29, 2023
Pilgrims perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah, the obligatory Tawaf of Hajj.
Pilgrims perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah, the obligatory Tawaf of Hajj.

Saudi Gazette report

MINA — Ministry of Interior's Security Spokesman Colonel Talal Al-Shalhoub has said the transportation of pilgrims to the holy sites was carried out successfully following their return this morning to Mina to perform the ritual of stoning the Satan at the Jamarat and to the Grand Mosque to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah, the obligatory circumambulation of the Kaabah in Hajj.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Col. Al-Shalhoub said the security agencies were continuing to ensure the pilgrims' security and safety during their stay at Mina and their performance of the Hajj rituals at the Grand Mosque and the Jamarat.

He called on the pilgrims to abide by the regulations concerning crowd movement and follow designated routes. He advised them to remain calm while performing the stoning at the Jamarat on the Tashreeq Days and the tawaf in the Grand Mosque.

Col. Al-Shalhoub emphasized that serving pilgrims and the Two Holy Mosques with its human resources and financial capabilities is a top priority for the Saudi leadership.

For his part, the official spokesman of the Ministry of Health Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdali noted that the Hajj rituals were performed smoothly and calmly amid integrated health services at the holy sites of Arafat and Muzdalifah.

He said medical services were provided to more than 215,000 pilgrims during this year’s Hajj, including hospitalization of more than 4,000 cases. He added that highly qualified medical staff and well-equipped healthcare facilities had been put in place to serve pilgrims and ensure their wellbeing while performing their Hajj rites.

Al-Abdali explained that the virtual hospital continued to deliver some 3,500 services using the latest technologies. The medical teams have dealt with 6,700 cases of heat stress — 2,200 cases on Wednesday alone and of which 261 cases were heat shock.

He called on pilgrims to be cautious, avoid direcrt exposure to sun and too much exertion, rest well, abide by health instructions, and follow hygienic standards, including the use of face masks. He also called on pilgrims to contact the call center at 937 for any inquiry, care, or medical emergency.

For his part, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Alghwainim said the dispatching of pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdalifah was completed shortly after midnight amid a reassuring security and health situation with a compliance rate of more than 95 percent. The time required for the mission did not exceed eight hours, he said, adding that there was direct follow-up from the leaders of the pilgrims' service system and the transportation and logistics services.

"We, as a system, have succeeded, thanks to Allah Almighty, to facilitate the pilgrims' Tafweej from Muzdalifah to Mina in just ten hours, taking into account the jurisprudential aspects of the Hajj and amid an operational efficiency that applies standards for dealing with risks and challenges. The stoning of the Jamarat continued until the late hours, taking into consideration the pilgrims health and special conditions,” Dr. Alghwainim said.

He pointed out that through field monitoring, it was found that several pilgrims preferred to walk despite the intensive awareness campaigns, the provision of all means of transportation, and the warning that temperatures would be high.

In coordination with the municipality of Makkah and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and under the pivotal role of the Islamic Development Bank, the sacrificial process was organized applying the highest environmental standards and using an advanced system for managing animal waste, Dr. Alghwainim explained. The Saudi project to benefit from sacrificial meat has a capacity to slaughter up to 950,000 sacrificial animals and distribute their meat, he added.

As for enabling the pilgrims to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah smoothly, Dr. Alghwainim stated that the shuttle transfer service from the holy site of Mina to the Grand Mosque will continue tomorrow (Thursday) from 15 parking lots and stations, where pilgrims can board 1,500 buses using eight lanes.

He indicated that the teams operating in the field were able to transport about 40 percent of the pilgrims until Wednesday evening.

He stressed that the service system for the pilgrims and the supervisory authorities followed up on the performance of all companies to ensure that they provided the services according to the rules.

For his part, spokesman for the Transport and Logistics System Saleh Al-Zuwaid confirmed that the operational lines of Al-Mashaer train were proceeding as planned and continued for the fourth day providing easy transportation for the pilgrims. In the past 24 hours, more than 297,000 pilgrims from the service from Arafat to Muzdalifah.

"More than 396,000 pilgrims have moved from Muzdalifah to Mina, and since this morning, the movement of Al-Mashaer train that connects the stations of the holy sites to Jamarat Bridge has started, which has so far benefited more than 106,000 passengers,” he said.

"We are now preparing to implement the operational plans for the departure stage, whether pilgrims wishing to return to their countries through airports or go to Madinah via roads, or by Al-Haramain train. According to the operational plan for this year's Hajj, Al-Haramain train scheduled about 3000 trips with more than 1.5 million seats. In the air transportation sector, the second phase of the operational plan for this year's Hajj season began with the preparation of six airports designated for foreign pilgrims as well as for domestic pilgrims, after the success of the first phase of the plan,” Al-Zuwaid said.

He stressed the keenness of the authorities to ensure that the departure of pilgrims would be organized according to an operational plan in which 27 operating agencies at the airports participate under the supervision of the transport and logistics system. "Several initiatives have been launched by the ministry to facilitate the departure of pilgrims, including the 'Hajj Without A Bag' Initiative, which will benefit over 200,000 pilgrims from four countries. Employees will be available around the clock to supervise the precise arrival of pilgrims at airports, in coordination with ground operations, to ensure the accuracy of flight times," Al-Zuwaid said.

With regard to cooperation from the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, a spokesman for the transportation and logistics system said, "We are studying the development of transportation between the holy sites and the provision of multiple modes of transport, such as linking Al-Mashaer train to Al-Haramain train, passing through the central area of Makkah."

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