Indonesia hopes for more airport Hajj clearance next year

25/07/19

Indonesian pilgrims arrive at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah. (File/SPA)
  • ndonesian pilgrims have benefited from the initiative since it was introduced last year in Soekarno Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten province
  • About 40 Saudi immigration officials have been assigned to work in the clearance process during the 30-day Hajj departure period

JAKARTA: Indonesia hopes fast tracking for its Hajj pilgrims, known as the “Makkah Road” initiative, will be expanded to at least two more airports in Java next year, which serve as embarkation points from the country’s most populated island and its neighbors, a government official said Thursday.
Indonesian pilgrims have benefited from the initiative since it was introduced last year in Soekarno Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten province, which serves pilgrims from Lampung, West Java and Banten provinces as well as Jakarta.
About 40 Saudi immigration officials have been assigned to work in the clearance process during the 30-day Hajj departure period.
Last year, fast tracking processed 30 percent of Indonesia’s pilgrims.
“Even though it was introduced last year, the service is still only available in Soekarno Hatta Airport. To be able to provide it in other airports would depend on the availability of Saudi immigration officials and whether the other airports have the infrastructure to support it,” Ramadhan Harisman, the secretary of religious affair’s directorate general for Hajj and Umrah services, told Arab News.
He said Indonesia hoped to eventually fast-track Hajj immigration clearance services at all 13 airports that ran routes to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
“Next year we hope to be able to have the fast-track clearance in Surabaya and Solo. The two airports there are also among the busiest, serving a huge number of pilgrims” Harisman said.
“The two airports are ready, we just need to finalize it with Saudi officials,” he added.
The Surabaya Airport will this year serve 38,150 pilgrims from East Java, Bali and East Nusa Tenggara, while Solo airport will serve 34,171 pilgrims from Central Java and Yogyakarta.
If the fast-track clearance is provided in the two airports in addition to Jakarta, the service would be able to process up to 140,000 pilgrims or more than 60 percent out of Indonesia’s pilgrims.
Indonesia is sending the largest number of Hajj pilgrims this year after it received an increase in its Hajj quota to 231,000 pilgrims.
Harisman said the number of pilgrims that have departed as per 25 July is 134,648 and the last departure is scheduled to take place on August 5. At least 17 have died during the pilgrimage, including a man from from Indramayu, West Java, who died on the plane just two hours before it arrived in King Abdul Aziz airport earlier this week.

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First group of Tunisian pilgrims arrive via Makkah Route initiative

25/07/19

The first Makkah Route initiative’s Hajj flight from Tunisia arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The pilgrims who benefited from the initiative lauded efforts to facilitate their travel and enable them to perform their duties with ease and comfort.
(Photo courtesy: SPA)

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First group of Tunisian pilgrims arrive via Makkah Route initiative

Time: July 25, 2019  

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The pilgrims who benefited from the initiative lauded efforts to facilitate their travel and enable them to perform their duties with ease and comfort. (SPA)
  • The Makkah Route initiative is expected to serve more than 225,000 pilgrims

MADINAH: The first Makkah Route initiative’s Hajj flight from Tunisia arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The pilgrims who benefited from the initiative lauded efforts to facilitate their travel and enable them to perform their duties with ease and comfort.

Sami Al-Saidi, Tunisia’s consul general to Saudi Arabia, said the Kingdom presents a new service every year to facilitate the journey of pilgrims coming from all over the world.

He thanked the Saudi government for all the services and facilities being provided for pilgrims.

The Makkah Route initiative is expected to serve more than 225,000 pilgrims passing through airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tunisia.

The service includes issuing visas, ensuring compliance with health requirements, and codifying and sorting luggage at airports in pilgrims’ own countries.

This enables them to bypass procedures on arrival in the Kingdom, and to head directly to buses waiting to transport them to their accommodation in Makkah and Madinah.

Service authorities deliver pilgrims’ luggage to their accommodation in the holy cities.

So far, 479,917 pilgrims have arrived in Madinah since the start of the current Hajj season, according to statistics issued by the National Guides Foundation. The data showed that 279,700 pilgrims left Madinah for Makkah, while 200,192 remained in Madinah.

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Saudi Red Crescent implements program to serve pilgrims

Time: July 24, 2019  

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Saudi Red Crescent Authority teams are on standby round-the-clock in Madinah 24, ready to assist pilgrims. (SPA)
  • Emergency medical teams cover all roads leading to Madinah, follow pilgrim convoys arriving or leaving the city

MADINAH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) in Madinah is implementing its field operational program to provide emergency and medical services for pilgrims and visitors at the Prophet’s Mosque and other locations frequented during this year’s Hajj season.

Khalid Al-Sahli, the official spokesman of the SRCA in Madinah, said that the authority began to implement its program in early July with about 60 emergency teams working per shift.

All emergency medical centers started covering all roads leading to Madinah, to follow pilgrim convoys arriving or leaving the city, while 12 healthcare teams with advanced equipment support the emergency work in Madinah to tend to all cases and incidents, he said.

He said that 1,000 female and male volunteers started work on Tuesday, within the program to serve pilgrims and visitors in Madinah during this year’s Hajj season.

They will perform their tasks mainly at the Prophet’s Mosque (in both men and women’s sections) and squares around it, and the volunteer teams will support emergency teams (based at the Prophet’s Mosque) during prayers and in peak hours at the Miqat Mosque while pilgrims depart to Makkah.

The authority’s training center continues to organize sessions and lectures about emergency care for members of government and private bodies working to serve pilgrims. Pilgrims are given flyers for emergencies and ways to use the “Asefni” (save me) application, available on all mobile phone systems in nine languages. People can also dial 997 for an ambulance.

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Hajj Ministry, Misk launch program for volunteers to serve pilgrims

Time: July 24, 2019  

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The program encourages the culture of voluntary work and gives individuals greater space to participate in charitable work. (SPA/Photo)
  • It aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practice

RIYADH: The Initiative Center at the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk Foundation) has launched a program to prepare volunteers for the Hajj season in 2019, in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The program, called Misk Al-Mashair, which launched its first workshop in Jeddah, encourages the culture of voluntary work and gives individuals greater space to participate in charitable work.

The program includes workshops in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Dammam, Alkhobar, Jazan, Al-Jouf, Al-Ahsa, Abha, Tabuk and Qassim, as well as other cities across the Kingdom. The one-day program is attended by volunteers to learn about volunteering in Hajj.

The workshop includes an introduction to dealing with emergencies, problem-solving, communication skills, dealing with pilgrims of different cultures, working together in crowd management, and the ethics and values of voluntary work, all linked to the honor and value of participating during Hajj.

Thousands of registered volunteers and several other official bodies are taking part in the training program through the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Health, and the Directorate of Civil Defense to unify efforts to support young volunteers, improve the quality of services provided and benefit from the expertise provided by the program.


IN NUMBERS

673,000 – The number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season.

650,000 – pilgrims came by air.

15,000 – pilgrims entered by land.

7,735 – pilgrims arrived by sea.


Through this program, the Initiative Center aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practices that reflect positively on pilgrims and contribute to improving their experience in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to promote volunteering and increase the contribution of Saudi youth volunteers in the service of their community and their country.

Volunteer work in this initiative is centered on the reception of pilgrims, guidance, translation, medical volunteering, honoring the elderly, helping people with disabilities and volunteering to monitor and document the feelings and attitudes of the pilgrims.

So far, the number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season has reached 673,104, according to statistics issued by Saudi General Directorate of Passports. Most pilgrims — 650,294 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 15,075 entered by land and 7,735 arrived by sea, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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Hussein Al-Sharif, undersecretary at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

Time: July 24, 2019  

Hussein Al-Sharif

Hussein Al-Sharif has been the undersecretary of Hajj affairs at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah since 2014.

He has sponsored Al-Zamzami Al-Sagheer initiative launched by the suppliers of Zamzam water, Unified Office of Zamzama, which will distribute Zamzam water to pilgrims during Hajj.

Al-Sharif holds a doctorate in public law from the University of Newcastle, UK, which he received in 2000.

He became a lecturer at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in 1990 in legal administration. In 2002, he was appointed assistant professor in the faculty of economics and administration and was the undersecretary of the systems department between 2002 and 2003.

Al-Sharif later became the head of the systems department for two consecutive terms until 2007.

While teaching at KAU, he taught administrative law, administrative justice, administrative contracts, principles of law, international private systems and criminal procedures.

He is the founding member of the National Society for Human Rights, and was the general supervisor of their branch in Makkah. He participated in the Second Regional Conference on National Human Rights Institutions in the Arab World  in 2006.

Al-Sharif is also an accredited arbitrator, and participated in the regional conference of the International Criminal Court in Bahrain in 2004 and the regional session for monitoring trials and fair trial standards in the country in 2005.

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Indonesian Hajj pilgrims arrive in Jeddah

Time: July 22, 2019  

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Indonesian Hajj pilgrims arriving in Jeddah. (SPA)

 

JEDDAH: The second phase of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims started landing in Jeddah with the arrival of a 455-strong contingent from Makasar’s Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in South Sulawesi.
The pilgrims were received by Indonesian Deputy Chief of Mission to Saudi Arabia Dicky Yunus and Indonesian Consul General Mohamad Hery Saripudin at King Abdul Aziz International Airport on Saturday.
A ceremony was organized to welcome the pilgrims landing in Jeddah, where they were served an Indonesian breakfast.
As many as 529 Garuda Indonesia and Saudia flights are transporting the pilgrims, 296 of which are carrying a total of 120,500 passengers to Jeddah during the period July 20 to Aug. 6.
More than 800 Hajj personnel and officers from Indonesia Religious Affairs Ministry and 308 health-care professionals from Health Ministry have been deployed to assist the pilgrims.
About 231,000 Indonesian pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj this year, including the additional quota 10,000 granted by King Salman.
The increasing quota of the Indonesian Hajj pilgrims will hopefully cut the waiting list, which is currently 40 years long.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Minister of Transport Budi Karya Sumadi visited the special lounge of Makkah Route initiative for Indonesian pilgrims at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
The minister was briefed on the process and procedures of Makkah Route initiative. He expressed his admiration for the initiative and extended thanks and gratitude to Saudi Arabia for its efforts to serve Islam, Muslims, and pilgrims.

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Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Health Adviser program to serve pilgrims

Time: July 22, 2019  

Sample tweet by @saudimoh. (Screen grab from Twitter)
  • The program seeks to provide them with medical advice and guidance through the 937 Service Center
  • The Ministry of Health’s Twitter account, @saudimoh, also provides the same service

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Health is starting implementation of its annual program “Hajj Health Adviser,” in line with the ministry’s aim to protect the health and safety of pilgrims, citizens and residents.

The program seeks to provide them with medical advice and guidance through the 937 Service Center and the ministry’s account on Twitter, @saudimoh.

The program will host a group of consultants and specialists in various medical specialties on a daily basis for a week to respond to all communications and questions from those wishing to perform Hajj rituals this year.

وزارة الصحة السعودية

@SaudiMOH

تشارك في من خلال التأكد من تنفيذ كافة الإشتراطات الصحية للحاج في بلده، حيث تساهم المبادرة في تقليل زمن انتظار الحجاج.

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Medical missions accompanying Hajj pilgrims from overseas countries are also following the Ministry of Health guidelines.The ministry has issued guidelines asking teams accompanying pilgrims to comply with technical requirements that include the mission having at least one physician per 1,000 pilgrims and at least 20 percent of the physicians in the medical mission having public health qualifications.

The ministry confirmed that it has not recorded any cases of epidemic or quarantinable diseases among pilgrims, and that the health situation is reassuring.

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Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

Time: July 21, 2019  

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The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, focusing on the overall health status of each visitor. (SPA)
  • 257,981 pilgrims benefited from the “preventive services” since the new initiative’s launch

RIYADH: One of the services provided by the Makkah Route initiative, which aims to smooth the Hajj journey of pilgrims and provide top-quality service, is to ensure that all health requirements are met.

The Communication, Relations and Health Awareness General Department of the Ministry of Health is implementing the initiative in two ways.

The first is to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa (Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Tunisia).

The second is to check that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

“Preventive measures” mean, for example, providing polio vaccines for pilgrims. The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), is provided through the Pakistani health authorities at the departure area of the airport.

“The ministry is also deploying a team of five people qualified to supervise the application of health requirements and assess the vaccination procedure and the application of preventive measures,” the department added.


HIGHLIGHTS

The Makkah Route initiative aims to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa.

The initiative also ensures that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals.

The teams include 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.


The ministry’s procedures in the departure hall include prepping emergency clinics at the points where Makkah Route pilgrims are received.

These clinics deal with urgent cases, prepare awareness information for pilgrims and coordinate with the General Authority of Civil Aviation regarding their distribution on the targeted airlines.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals, including 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry stated that the number of health practitioners assigned to the service of pilgrims during Hajj “is more than 30,000.”

The ministry encourages volunteering during the Hajj season; it believes that it is a very important and noble service toward fellow citizens, nations and the religion, where Islam highly encourages volunteering and serving others.

The ministry is coordinating the major institutions and commissions via its Hajj volunteering link to register volunteers so that they can participate through the societal partnership program.

The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, keeping an eye on the overall health situation and reporting any suspicious infectious diseases.

The ministry monitors all the health institutions and medical missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices to make sure the health requirements are being properly applied, to ensure pilgrims’ safety and guarantee an environment free of infectious diseases.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that so far that there has been no incidence of any epidemic diseases or quarantine cases recorded among pilgrims, who arrived and the health situation is reassuring.

Since the first of Dul Qaada, the ministry has provided preventive services, via access points, to 257,981 pilgrims, with a total rate of commitment to vaccination reached  87.4 percent for meningitis, 67.3 percent for yellow fever and 95.3 percent for polio.

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Makkah imam urges best efforts for Hajj pilgrims

Time: July 21, 2019  

Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais. (SPA file photo)

MAKKAH: Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, has urged employees of the Prophet’s Mosque and the Agency of General Presidency for the Prophet’s Mosque Affairs to make a success of the agency’s plan for pilgrimage this year.

He stressed the need to develop and improve the level of performance to achieve Vision 2030.

Meanwhile, the National Guides Establishment in Madinah organized a lecture on first aid in cooperation with the Saudi Red Crescent Authority as part of the Prince Naif first aid program.

The director of the training department of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority in Madinah, Musaid bin Hamed Al-Hajjili, said that the lecture was to raise awareness for the pilgrimage season. He said that the National Guides Establishment dealt with more than one-and-a-half-million pilgrims and had more than 3,000 employees who faced emergency cases that required rapid intervention.

He said that the training lecture included several specialized courses on how to deal with injuries, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency heart conditions. The lecture also included information about bleeding and fractures, along with a talk about voluntary work and its impact on society. SPA Madinah

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