Saudi Red Crescent readies eight air ambulances for Hajj pilgrims

The authority will use 290 ambulance cars and 29 motorbikes to provide fast services to the pilgrims during this Hajj season

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The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) has prepared eight aircraft for speedy evacuation of sick pilgrims, a senior official has said.

Acting Chairman of the SRCA, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Qasim, said the authority has deployed 2,459 of its staff to work in Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites to provide ambulance services to the guests of Allah.

Al-Qasim said the authority has established 113 ambulance centers in the holy sites and along the roads leading to them.

“We have established six seasonal ambulance centers along the express roads which the pilgrims use to reach the Grand Mosque in addition to a number of permanent centers in the land inlets and inside cities and villages,” he said.

The official said the authority will use 290 ambulance cars and 29 motorbikes to provide fast services to the pilgrims during this Hajj season.

He said the authority’s staff consists of 99 doctors, 1,579 paramedics and technicians in addition to 1,400 volunteers.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance is providing 700 preachers and interpreters to guide the pilgrims on the correct methods of performing Hajj rites.

Talal Al-Akeel, adviser to the minister, said the preachers and interpreters will be using 30 languages to enlighten the two million pilgrims expected to perform the Hajj this year.

“Most of the preachers are moderate university teachers specialized in Shariah and fiqh (jurisprudence) and are far away from extremism and fanaticism,” he said.

A total of 780,000 pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia until Monday by air, sea and land. Some of them immediately proceeded to Madinah to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad and pray at his mosque while others preferred to do this after the Hajj.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has formulated the procedures for the appointment of supervisors of the gates to be sued for the grouping of pilgrims.

The ministry said assistants might be added to the supervisors in the tent complexes with 2,500 pilgrims.

The local Hajj companies, which have 277 tents, are allowed to appoint one supervisor for the tent of less than 1,500 pilgrims.

There are as many as 1,062 tents in Mina for the accommodation of pilgrims coming from outside and 277 tents for the 200 Hajj firms serving domestic pilgrims.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Aug. 31, 2016.

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