KSA STEPS UP HAJ PREPARATIONS

Saudi Arabia has stepped up preparations for the annual pilgrimage. Nearly three million pilgrims from around the world are expected to perform Haj this year.

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Saudi Arabia has stepped up preparations for the annual pilgrimage. Nearly three million pilgrims from around the world are expected to perform Haj this year. Overcrowding has always been a big problem for the Kingdom’s Haj managers. To solve this problem, the government has urged Saudis and foreign residents not to proceed for Haj without obtaining valid permits from authorities. Expatriates have been warned they could face deportation if found in the holy sites without valid Haj permits. The Health Ministry said it would deploy more than 10,000 doctors, nurses and paramedical staff for Haj services. Over 100 specialist doctors from Pakistan and Jordan and 247 nurses from Malaysia have been hired to serve pilgrims. The government has set out special plans to face problems caused by heavy rainfalls and flash floods in the holy sites during the Haj season. Owners of high-rise buildings around the Grand Mosque in Makkah have been asked to take extra safety measures and keep additional fire extinguishers as a first line of defence until the civil defence officers manage to reach the location.