Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia: Number of Umrah Pilgrims Visiting Mecca Rises | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mecca, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Hajj Central Committee revealed this week that the number of Umrah visas that have been issued from the beginning of the Islamic month of Safar, which marks the start of the Umrah pilgrimage, until mid-Ramadan reached 3,375,660. Within the same period, the number of pilgrims who had arrived reached 2,906,526 and 2,405,295 had performed the Umrah pilgrimage and left.

The report indicated that the number of people who arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to complete the Umrah pilgrimage during the aforementioned period was 10,202 compared to 7495 departures. Up to 161 journeys were made by sea via the Jeddah Islamic Seaport and 290 departures from the port were recorded.

The report also disclosed that the number of vehicles that arrived in Mecca during the same period stood at 1,762,509 whereas the number of cars that left reached 1,779,191.

Up to 340,871 tons of rubbish had been disposed of and approximately 666 beggars and 1,194 street sellers were arrested by the police force in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque. Approximately, 1,511 people were arrested by the Field Joint Committee and 7,482 were arrested by the passports authority in Riyadh. The report also revealed that 4,230 accidents occurred within the same period.

The municipality of Mecca mobilized efforts with regards to markets, restaurants, and barbershops around the Holy Mosque. Contracts were signed in cities and villages outside of Mecca aiming to develop the infrastructure in rural areas in order to alleviate the level of emigration to Saudi cities.

Dr. Osama al Bar, the mayor of Mecca revealed that plans are currently under way in a number of villages and cities aiming to promote the services provided to the local residents. The municipality has already completed a number of significant projects to contribute to the modernization of all facilities and services in different villages and cities.

The complete cost of these new contracts exceeded SR 3.5 million, which has been allocated to four road improvement and engineering consultancy projects. The contracts were signed by a number of local specialized companies.

The project to renovate the entrance to Raniah and its suburbs alone was worth SR 1.1 million in one year. A plan for an engineering consultancy service to supervise the Al Qarawi Complex projects in Maisan is the third of these projects. It aims to study and design the Maisan Complex.

The efforts of the municipality of Mecca were not limited to those projects alone. The fact that around four million pilgrims gather in one place requires enormous and continuous efforts regarding food, drink, transportation and the like. Strict safety regulations resulted in the closure of twenty five shops including barbershops that had violated regulations in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque.

Inspections resulted in the confiscation of 200 litres of milk, 62 kilograms of meat and other foods that had passed the expiry date and were unsuitable for consumption. These inspection teams consisted of 85 health inspectors from the municipality’s department of food, and they carried out their investigations in restaurants, markets and barbershops etc.

The director of the Environmental Health Department, Mohamed Hashem al Hafwatawi, said, “All of the inspectors are professionals, highly qualified and prepared to carry out their work in the most professional way possible.”