Ministry OKs emergency plan for holy cities

JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Interior Minister Prince Ahmed approved the Civil Defense plan to tackle emergency situations in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah during Ramadan this year, an official said.

Lt. Gen. Saad Al-Tuwaijri, director general of Civil Defense, said in a statement yesterday: “More than 10,000 Civil Defense personnel will participate in the implementation of the emergency plan which includes foot and vehicle patrols, firefighters, rescue teams, first aid operators, inspectors and medical evacuation and rapid intervention teams.”

Al-Tuwaijeri thanked the government for not sparing any effort to guarantee the safety of Umrah and Haj pilgrims. The plan is to be implemented in collaboration with 18 ministries, Al-Madinah daily reported on Tuesday.

Civil Defense will use equipment including advanced multipurpose vehicles for firefighting and rescue and high-tech trucks to control accidents related to hazardous substances.

Checkpoints on all major roads leading to Makkah and Madinah have been provided with sufficient staff and equipment.

Nine helicopters equipped with night vision devices and the capability to offer additional support to field teams handling accidents have also been deployed, Al-Tuwaijeri said.

“All arrangements to implement the plan are being completed in a scheduled manner and taking into consideration the likelihood of unprecedented surge in the number of pilgrims during Ramadan, especially over the last 10 days of the month.”

He added Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Assistant Interior Minister for Security Affairs Prince Muhammad bin Naif are also monitoring the preparations.

Al-Tuwaijeri added: “Firstly, the plan focuses on preventive measures.

“There are inspection team to check the accommodation of Umrah pilgrims and visitors to ensure safety measures are being adhered to.”

Civil Defense will also punish those who violate safety regulations.

Inspection teams will also visit places where pilgrims are likely to frequent and remove anything that poses a threat to their safety, he said.

The Civil Defense plan also stresses the readiness of its teams to tackle any emergency situation round-the-clock.

For this purpose Civil Defense officers will keep on monitoring locations where pilgrims gather in large numbers and check their transport arrangements.

Teams with sufficient number of officers and manpower will be deployed inside and around the Two Holy Mosques in the two holy cities and roads including those leading to the two mosques, he said.

The plan also gives priority to awareness programs among pilgrims about what they should do at times of emergencies and also what they should do and what situations to avoid every day to ensure their safety.

Categories: Asia, Saudi Arabia

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