Deadline for Haj arrivals by land ends today

Jeddah, KSA

Friday is the last day for the entry of pilgrims arriving by road, the General Directorate of Passports announced on Thursday. The directorate has called upon the guests of God arriving from foreign countries to comply with arriving and departing schedules.

The directorate also reminded pilgrims from the GCC states to carry the Haj permits from their respective countries. “Otherwise, they will be sent back,” it said. Meanwhile, wheelchairs used by elderly people for tawaf (circumambulation) have been banned from the mataf section of the Grand Mosque. “The decision has been taken to ensure the safety of all pilgrims,” said Civil Defense chief Brig. Ahmed Al-Dulaiwi. He said wheelchair-bound pilgrims have been allocated the upper floors of the Grand Mosque.

Al-Dulaiwi said a committee comprising Civil Defense personnel and employees of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques will monitor the mataf section around the clock to ensure that there is no overcrowding and to address shortcomings, if any. He said all Makkah tunnels are inspected by teams of officers and specialists trained in measuring and monitoring the level of toxic gases. In case of danger, they take immediate action.

Faris Al-Matrafi of the Department of Wheelchairs at the Grand Mosque said 300 battery-operated wheelchairs would operate 24 hours a day for the elderly and pilgrims with special needs. “These vehicles can be obtained at two distribution centers, each having two lounges, one for men and one for women,” he said.  “It will take only 3 minutes to obtain an electric wheelchair because 230 employees have been dedicated to this particular job.”

Weather is expected to remain hot during the day and mild at night with average temperature exceeding 40° Celsius during the Haj season, said Abdulaziz bin Omar Al-Jasser, chairman of the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection. He pointed out that there’s a possibility of cumulus clouds appearing during the day in the eastern parts of Makkah, resulting in scattered rains and thunderstorm during the pilgrimage. The center issues forecasts for the next 10 days.

(Courtesy- Arab News)