Assistant Deputy Minister of Pilgrimage Dr. Sahl Al-Sabban has given assurances that areas that could be hit by flash floods during the upcoming Hajj season have been identified, and arrangements made for drainage. He added that all pilgrim tents, 60 percent of which are new, will be ready for use well in advance of the start of the pilgrimage on January 30. In view of the fact that weather forecasters have predicted heavy rains, a task force has been set up with representatives from the Ministry, the civil defense and tawafa (guides) establishments to deal with floods. Makkah’s Director of Civil Defense Col. Jameel Arbaeen confirmed that a comprehensive plan is in place to counter flooding during the Hajj, commenting that lessons had been learned from past floods in Makkah and announcing that warning messages will be spread through mobile phones with the help of Saudi Telecom.
Starting January 23, Saudi Radio will begin to transmit Hajj enlightenment programs round the clock in English, French, Persian, Turkish, Hausa, Indonesian and Urdu as well as Arabic. The programs can be heard on medium wave 594 kilohertz for listeners in Makkah and 1017 kilohertz for those in Madinah; and on FM for listeners in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. Meanwhile, the Hajj awareness exhibit in Jeddah is already attracting large crowds. The exhibit, a new feature this year, presents the correct method of performing the rituals of Hajj. It opened on January 7, and will continue until January 29, the day before the commencement of the pilgrimage. This year, the Ministry of Pilgrimage is hosting 1,000 Iraqi pilgrims, while the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Propagation and Guidance is hosting 560 pilgrims from India, Pakistan and Burma.