Despite converging millions, sense of calm prevails in Riyadh on Hajj eve

Ehtesham Shahid
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A sense of calm prevailed at ‎Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport well past midnight on Wednesday. It’s business as usual with international arrivals outnumbering other areas of the airport.

The Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten confirmed that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has developed an integrated plan for the operation of the Hajj season of this year, based on high performance standards and in line with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince.


During a press conference held in Mecca, the minister pointed out that the ministry has allocated a free number of services to receive reports, complaints and inquiries, on the number 8004304444, where all pilgrims can submit complaints and grievances through the application of “Manasikuna” on any smart phones.

Mecca Hajj. (AFP)
Mecca Hajj. (AFP)

The minister pointed out that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has also set up reception centers for pilgrims at the entrances to the cities of Mecca and Madinah. These are well-equipped with more than 1800 employees, from both sexes, who organize buses in the two holy cities in order to manage the flow of traffic.

For his part, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Abdulfattah bin Suleiman Mashat said the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created an electronic path, linking all Hajj-related bodies to shorten the time spent to fulfill the measure and control the level of the service offered. It has also launched a smart translation service in all languages in addition to reminding pilgrims of the scheduled time for moving from one point to another.

He said the ministry also provided an innovated platform serving more than 17,000 buses to control and follow-up on their movements within Hajj zones in addition to the “Mecca is longing for you” and “Become helpful for others” initiatives, which organize the work of voluntary groups in the service of pilgrims.

Following him, the Undersecretary of the Ministry for Hajj Affairs Hussein Al-Shareef said the number of field service offices amounted to 720 to serve more than two million pilgrims.

Mecca Hajj. (AFP)
Mecca Hajj. (AFP)

He said the pre-processed food snacks service will be launched this year to target 15 percent of pilgrims, and will gradually increase in the coming years.

Occasional pilgrims can be spotted in ahram (the white robes adorned by ‎faithfuls performing the annual pilgrimage).

The domestic airport - King Khalid International Airport - ‎reverberates with the Hajj chant every now and then. Pilgrims heading for Jeddah to join millions of others look excited at the prospect.

On Wednesday, the General Authority for Statistics announced that the number of workforce providing healthcare health and ambulance services for pilgrims this season amounted to 31.57 per capita.

- With SPA

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