JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Sunday 22 September 2013
The Civil Defense Department has drawn out an emergency plan to ensure the security and safety of the nearly two million pilgrims who are expected to visit Makkah and other holy sites for Haj this year.
“The plan aims at dealing with emergency situations during the peak Haj days, including floods, accidents and catastrophes,” said Lt. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri, director general of the department.
The plan, which envisages greater coordination with various government departments, also aims at protecting public and private properties. “We have made arrangements to deal with 13 potential dangers during Haj,” he said.
“We will intensify our efforts to enlighten pilgrims about safety regulations in coordination with the Haj Ministry, Information Ministry, Tawafa organizations and foreign Haj missions. We will also educate them how to deal with emergency situations.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Haj said it would set up special camps close to Mashaer Railway stations to organize the boarding of pilgrims onto the trains. “We have held a meeting with municipality officials to discuss how to organize the movement of pilgrims at Mashaer Railway stations,” said Amin bin Yasin Fatani, a senior ministry official. Pilgrims from Southeast Asia, Arab and Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia will benefit from the service this year.
Separately, Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said he is optimistic that this year’s Haj would pass without outbreaks of the deadly MERS coronavirus. “We are optimistic we can achieve yet another success as the Haj season nears after the Umrah season when more than five million foreign pilgrims performed the ritual, despite health challenges such as the coronavirus,” said Al-Rabeeah.
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs said it would facilitate the ground and first floors of the new Grand Mosque expansion, as well as the plazas surrounding it, for prayers during the Haj season.