2007 News Story

New luggage facility at Jamarat to ease congestion during this year’s Hajj

A luggage storage facility will be built near the Jamarat area to help avoid overcrowding in the stoning area during this year’s Hajj, the Arab News reported today.

The move aims to ensure the safety of the large number of pilgrims who gather in the area. More than 3 million pilgrims come to Jamarat each year to stone the devil and sleep overnight after staying in Arafat and Muzdalifah.

“Experience has shown that some of the unfortunate incidents in the stoning area are mainly due to pilgrims carrying their luggage while performing the rituals,” Deputy Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Habib Al-Abideen told the Arab News.

Al-Abideen said that pilgrims would be told to keep their luggage in the large new warehouse which will be big enough to accommodate all their baggage. They will be permitted to carry their travel documents and valuables in a backpack, he said.

In addition to the luggage facility, Saudi Arabia has expanded the Jamarat Bridge to ease congestion, adding a third level to the existing two. Each level can handle around 130,000 pilgrims an hour, Al-Abideen noted.

The deputy minister also said that that pilgrims also must stick to the schedule assigned their respective groups by Saudi authorities. “Pilgrims will not be allowed to go to the Jamarat Bridge when they please,” he said, as quoted in the Arab News.

In related news, Governor of Makkah Province Prince Khalid Al-Faisal has mandated that all infrastructure projects in Makkah must be finished by September 7 in advance of Ramadan, the Saudi Gazette reported today. All projects are expected to be completed by that time except for the Al-Taneem Road and the King Khalid Tunnel, which do not affect traffic during Ramadan.