Over 1.5 million pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom

November 4, 2010

More than 1.5 million airline passengers have already arrived in the Kingdom to take part in this year’s Hajj rituals, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal told reporters on Tuesday, according to a report published today by Arab News. Speaking to the media after inspecting the Hajj terminal of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, Prince Khaled outlined some of the steps taken by the Saudi government to ensure that the pilgrimage season runs smoothly. Specifically, he noted that the Civil Defense has taken precautionary measures to protect pilgrims from flash floods and efforts have been made to combat the forgery of travel documents and to prevent visitors from squatting in public places.

Meanwhile, the heads of the Kingdom’s health departments met in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss Hajj preparation, particularly the provision of medical services to pilgrims and efforts to combat infectious diseases. Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah reported that the participants “decided to establish a unified department for the transfer of emergency cases, which will be based at Mina Emergency Hospital.”

Finally, traffic plans have been finalized for the current season, according to transportation official Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Ajlan. During Hajj, he warned, vehicles that are not licensed to carry pilgrims will be impounded and fined SR 1,500 [$400] if found at the entrance to Makkah and SR 3,000 [$800] for those at the entrances of the holy sites. Al-Ajlan added that a new monorail system, the Mashair Railway, will be in operation this year and is expected to carry at least 160,000 pilgrims.

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