Pilgrims have started gathering in Mina holy site in preparation for spending the Day of Tarwiyah, as the first day of Haj is called, to read the Qur’an and say their five obligatory prayers. The Day of Tarwiyah is on Wednesday the 8th of Dhul Hijja. The 9th of Dhul Hijja is the most important day in the pilgrimage (Haj). The pilgrims will leave Mina for Arafat early in the morning on Thursday 9th Dhul Hijja where there will be the Standing in Arafat. After Maghrib, the Hujjaj will leave for Muzdalifa where they will offer Maghrib and Isha prayers and spend the night in the open sky.
The administration of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) late Tuesday announced the success of the operation plan for the pilgrims’ arrival, as the number of pilgrims who arrived via the Haj Terminal reached nearly 950,000. They arrived on 4,755 flights, which landed on the precise time, according to schedule, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The KAIA Director General Abdullah Al-Reemi said: “The Haj Terminal this year witnessed a noticeable surge in the number of arriving pilgrims, reaching nearly 38 percent compared to the arrival phase last year. This necessitated doubling the efforts by all the government sectors.”
Since the beginning of the Haj season ever year, KAIA administration receives Haj and Umrah pilgrims at the terminals allocated for them, according to a special operation mechanism that guarantees a streamlined flow of arriving and departing pilgrims.
The Haj Terminal is a complex of 14 passenger halls well-equipped for an ideal major operation. It has 10 mobile bridges for taking the passengers directly to the planes, 420 counters for completing travel procedures, aside from 16 customs inspection points, 12 luggage conveyor belts, 10,000 seats for waiting passengers, and 40 prayer areas for waiting pilgrims.
Meanwhile, the area of the open tents totals 140,000 sq. meters provided with 40 air-conditioning units. There is enough space for the parking of 47 planes simultaneously. The highest number of passengers arriving at the Haj Terminal in one day this year reached 70,000. A luxurious hotel is located at the heart of the Haj Terminal to serve passengers. It has a capacity of 123 guests per day.
Meanwhile, the Director General of Water in Makkah Province Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Ghamdi said the planned cumulative water supplies for the Haj season for the months of Dhul Qa’da and Dhul Hijja will reach a total of 40 million cubic meters.
He said the quantity of water scheduled to be pumped from the desalination plants during the first ten days of Dhul Hijja to the storage tanks in Makkah and the holy sites (including the Million, new Al-Muaissim, and Arafat tanks) will reach 850,000 cubic meters, with a 20 percent increase compared to last year’s Haj season. This will bring the total actual strategic and operational storage in Makkah and the holy sites to 2,245,000 cubic meters.
Al-Ghamdi further said, during an inspection tour of the water and environmental facilities, the quantity of water distributed in Makkah city has reached 536,725 cubic meters. Meanwhile, the quantity distributed in the holy sites has reached 185,000 cubic meters. This brings the total quantity of water distributed in Makkah and the holy sites to 854,290 cubic meters. He said the National Water Company (NWC) has been able to keep pace with the increasing demand for water with the rising number of pilgrims and the increasing temperatures.
Meantime, the Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Dr. Tawfiq Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudairi has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s keenness to keep the pilgrimage away from any politicization, partisanship, sectarian slogans or political trends.
He added: “Since the founding of the Kingdom by the late King Abdulaziz (may Allah have mercy on his soul) until today, the Kingdom has always kept the Haj away from any politicization, sectarianism or partisanship. Haj is a great act of worship and the Kingdom’s rulers always stress this strategic principle that all government and services authorities abide by. The Kingdom always reaffirms that the Haj is a religious rite that must be respected and it should be kept away from political whims and trends, sectarianism and partisanship.”
Al-Sudairi made these comments during a press conference following an inspection tour of the mosques in the holy sites on Tuesday.
In another development, the Assistant Minister of Interior for Operation Affairs and Supervisor of Public Security Gen. Said Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani made an inspection tour of the Special Emergency Forces at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina holy site on Tuesday evening. He was accompanied by Gen. Khaled Bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Haj Security Forces.
At the end of the inspection tour, Gen. Al-Qahtani expressed happiness over the preparations and the briefing he was given at the Jamarat Bridge. He stressed that all the human potentials and machinery were ready to serve the pilgrims.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Commander of the Second Special Security Forces and Commander of the 1438H Haj Task Maj. Gen. Fahd Bin Nasser Al-Ossaimi confirmed the readiness of the special security forces participating in the Haj this year. He added that all preparations have been competed at all levels.
The number of pilgrims who have been screened at the health monitoring centers at KAIA and Jeddah Islamic Port has reached 955,316 since the beginning of the Haj season until Monday. The Ministry of Health said the number of pilgrims who have been vaccinated against poliomyelitis has reached 243,936 while those vaccinated against meningitis totaled 859,763. As to those who were given the preventive vaccine, they reached 163,688 pilgrims. Meanwhile, the number of pilgrims who visited the health monitoring centers at KAIA reached 59,999.
Meantime, the Ministry of Health has readied four hospitals with a capacity of 600 beds each. They include Al-Rahmah, Arafat General, Namirah and East Arafat hospitals, aside from 46 health centers in Arafat that will operate on the day of Standing in Arafat.[Source: Saudi Gazette]