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Author Topic: Haj 2010 influx begins via land, sea, air routes  (Read 744 times)
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« on: Oct 20, 2010 07:07 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro

If you ever go to the airport to see off the Hujjaj, you really get that sense of wanting to go.

May Allah make it easy on all those who have been invited to go this year.

Haj influx begins via land, sea, air routes

Pilgrims have started pouring into Saudi Arabia from all around the world to perform Haj — the fifth pillar of Islam — this year.

They are arriving via 16 land, sea and air inlets, while both the government and private sectors have completed all arrangements to receive and enable them perform their rituals in ease and peace.

So far, at least 62,500 pilgrims have arrived from various Arab and Islamic countries on board 276 flights and immediately proceeded toward Makkah or Madinah.

All organizations providing Haj services are ready now to receive the guests of God. Among them is the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), which started executing its Haj plan at a very early stage.

It started implementing its strategy by operating the Haj terminals where pilgrims will be received before they are transported either to Makkah or Madinah.

GACA also coordinates with other government departments to make sure that pilgrims are well received and given a pleasant send-off. The first batch of pilgrims arrived on Oct. 9 and will continue to arrive until Nov. 12. They will start departing from Nov. 18 until Dec. 21.

According to GACA, there are six Haj flights every hour and 144 flights every day. The number of Haj flights peak on the second week of November, reaching 200 flights every day.

The Passports Department has completed all its arrangements to receive the pilgrims at the entry points.

Students from the Passport Institute started their posts at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah, Prince Muhammad ibn Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah and the Jeddah Islamic Seaport (JIS), in addition to other inlets.

They were thoroughly trained to handle all passport work, computers, fingerprinting, identifying forged documents and other security matters.

The United Agents' Office also began its work at all entry points. The office has supplied enough manpower and equipment to process pilgrims heading toward one of the two holy cities.

In Jeddah, director of health affairs Dr. Sami Badawood said a total of 589 staff from the Health Ministry, including doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators, will monitor the health of pilgrims at KAIA, while 140 will be stationed at the JIS.

He said the ministry's personnel would ensure that all the pilgrims have adhered to health regulations and that they are free from any contagious diseases.

Badawood said medical staff would provide immediate health care to pilgrims who need it and will transfer critical cases to hospitals in Jeddah, which have completed all arrangements to receive and treat the guests of God.

The number of pilgrims coming from outside is expected to be higher than the 1.7 million that arrived last year, especially as swine flu fears have dissipated.

Meanwhile, the six Tawafa (service providers) establishments have rented out 95 percent of available accommodation for pilgrims in Makkah alone.

The Haj companies and tourist agencies have also had similar success. They are currently authenticating their accommodation contracts with the Haj Ministry.

In contrast to last year, no Arab or Islamic country has so far announced that it will send no pilgrims this year. Between 340,000 and 350,000 Arab pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year.

The Haj Ministry has employed more than 1,700 qualified Saudis on a temporary basis to help in seven areas, including the Jamarat bridge, emergencies, counting of pilgrims and other administrative assignments.

Makkah Mayor Osama bin Fadl Al-Bar said 21,650 people have been mobilized to implement the Makkah municipality's Haj plan, including more than 7,000 workers with 670 pieces of equipment to clean the Holy City around-the-clock. He said about 200 rubbish compressors been installed to minimize waste.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 10, 2010 11:58 PM »

Muslims flood into Saudi as hajj nears

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Less than two weeks before the world's largest annual gathering, 1.5 million Muslims from around the world have flooded into the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the hajj pilgrimage.

Coming by sea from east Africa, by land from the Gulf but mainly by air, a total of two million Muslims are expected to perform the hajj ritual this year, one of the five pillars or duties which Islam requires of believers.

The number, which includes a projected 250,000 Saudi pilgrims, could be down by 10 percent or more from last year due to limitations on accommodation in the sprawling Mina tent city, still under construction.

Officials said there were no particular health threats this year, unlike fears in 2009 that swine flu would spread virulently during the gathering. In the end, the disease caused little trouble.

The five-day hajj is expected to begin on November 14, although the date is not yet certain.

The pilgrimage takes place during the middle of the month of Dhul al-Hijja, and the date will be determined once Saudi religious authorities announce the start of the month with the sighting of the crescent moon.

Pilgrims have been pouring through the dedicated hajj terminal at Jeddah's King Abdul Aziz International airport at a rate of 60,000 a day over the past week, according to airport officials.

Overnight boats, mainly from Sudan, have also been drawing up at Jeddah's port, delivering thousands more African pilgrims each day.

"I'm very excited to be here," Malaysian engineer Zulkepli Saad said as he waited at immigration with his wife in the airport hajj terminal.

With several days left before the actual hajj begins, the pilgrim said: "I'm going to Medina to visit the prophet's shrine and all the historical mosques."

This year's hajj will sport a brand-new Chinese-built train linking Mecca with the key sites near the holiest city in Islam.

The 6.5-billion-riyal (1.7 billion dollar), 18-kilometre (11-mile) Al-Mashair rail connects Mecca to Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina, site of a massive tent city for housing more than one million pilgrims.

It is expected to cut the journey between the locations from several hours in log-jammed buses to much less than one hour.

But the line will open with limited capacity this year. Only Saudi and other Gulf pilgrims will be able to make use of it for the whole period of the hajj, at a cost of 250 riyals (67 dollars) a person for seven days.

On special days, including the Eid al-Adha holiday and Al-Tarwiyah, the day of ritual livestock sacrifice in a feast at the end of the hajj, everyone will be able to buy tickets.

Another addition is the completion of the five-story walkway that funnels pilgrims through the ritual of "stoning the devil" at the Al-Jamarat pillars.

The structure, already used last year, looks like an elongated open parking garage. It was built to help avoid the panics and stampedes at Jamarat that killed hundreds of people in previous pilgrimages, the most recent in 2006.

Dr Ziad Memish, a senior health ministry official for the hajj, said swine flu is not a concern this year, even though it killed three people in Saudi Arabia in October.

Against fears of a possible health catastrophe, the disease only had a small impact in 2009, infecting just dozens and killing five.

The Saudis mobilised 20,000 extra health workers in 2009 to deal with the threat, but with the pandemic officially declared over in August by the World Health Organisation, Memish said "this year we are much more relaxed."

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« Reply #2 on: Nov 12, 2010 01:51 AM »

A brother live blogging and live tweeting the Hajj!!! Haha someone beat brkhalid aww well...theres always live youtubing next year or something....

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