Monday 1 October 2012
The national strategic committee for Haj reviewed the preparations for Haj and Umrah on the eve of new pilgrimage season. The committee said waste management in holy places, especially in Mina, is the biggest challenge facing the pilgrimage season. They discussed ways to dispose of garbage in record time and sought the possibility of constructing buildings instead of camps in Mina.
The committee said the lack of toilets also posed a challenge and suggested provision of more toilets. Inadequate food transportation services for the pilgrims are another obstacle and cooking in camps using primitive means should be avoided, said members of the committee.
Committee member Fayez Jamal explained that a scientific study had been designed to provide pilgrims with more comforts and security and enable them to perform the rituals with ease.
“Around 1.7 million pilgrims from abroad and 4 million from inside the Kingdom are expected to arrive for Haj and all of them will meet in a limited geographical area during this period,” he added. Khalid Maimani, chairman of the Human Resources Management Committee at King Abdulaziz University, said it is necessary to take into account the current economic dimension of Haj season, as the services offered by Haj organizations have remained constant for the last 30 years.
He said that although the Jamrat Bridge is massive, some people have complained of congestion. The bridge has five floors and measures 18 meters in width and has 12 exits and entrances.
He stressed the need to find appropriate solutions to perform Haj in the next 13 years in summer, when temperatures will be high in Makkah and other holy sites.
Brig. Nasser Al-Mutairi, training director of the Coast Guard, said security agencies would post signboards in all languages to guide pilgrims in Makkah.
He said the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah gives great importance to security and safety of pilgrims throughout their stay in the country. Government machinery will be used to the maximum extent to ensure security in Makkah and Madinah.
A committee member said Saudi Arabia has considerable experience in the management of crowds. “The Kingdom has been dealing for decades with pilgrims of different nationalities, speaking different languages, belonging to different cultures, different Islamic sects,” he added.