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Makkah tragedy: UAE Haj pilgrims are safe

/Dubai
Filed on September 13, 2015 | Last updated on September 13, 2015 at 06.37 am
Makkah tragedy: UAE Haj pilgrims are safe


(Reuters)

Mohammed Obaid Al Mazrouie

Country's first group reached only on Saturday.

Haj pilgrims from the UAE are safe, a top official from the country's Haj mission has said. Pilgrims from the UAE were not killed or hurt after a massive crane in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, collapsed on Friday afternoon.

Unusually heavy showers triggered the collapse, which killed at least 107 people and injured 201 others ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Mohammed Obaid Al Mazrouie, head of the UAE Haj Mission, on Saturday told Khaleej Times that only the preparatory Haj committee was present in Saudi Arabia when the tragedy struck. The first group of pilgrims from the UAE reached Madina only on Saturday.

About 5,000 pilgrims from the UAE will be performing Haj this year. "The last batch from the country will arrive in Saudi Arabia on September 17," said Al Mazrouie.

Yusuf Al Hammadi, head of media section at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the official Haj mission of the emirate will leave for Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Al Mazrouie, who is also CEO of Islamic Affairs at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said the UAE Haj mission is taking due precautionary measures to ensure pilgrims' safety. "The official UAE Haj Mission will fly to Jeddah ... and then be divided into two teams: One for Makkah and the other for Madina to better streamline and control all pilgrimage-related issues."

As Haj season is always busy, the job has been distributed among various committees.

Every pilgrim has been provided with a briefcase, including a variety of publications on Haj, as well as due health and preventive procedures to keep them safe, he said.

"We have given special free mobile numbers so that pilgrims can easily seek help in case of emergency or contact preachers to ask about any issue relating to pilgrimage."

Al Mazrouie said all UAE Haj pilgrims will be accommodated in four or five star hotels at the central region close to the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madina.

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com


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