Health and safety concerns



Published — Saturday 17 November 2012

Last update 16 November 2012 8:37 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

I would like to share with you health and safety concerns that I have following my recent Haj pilgrimage. I think more health and safety warnings need to be given to help people prepare, but there are also matters that need to be raised with the Saudi government. These comments are sent with good will as I am also aware of the huge amount of investment that has gone into trying to ensure safety for all pilgrims. There is no doubt the authorities do their best to provide the best services to millions of pilgrims which is commendable and unparalleled. However, I would like to draw the attention of the authorities to look into areas where improvement can be made.

The sanitation at Mina is a genuine health and safety risk with so many people in close proximity. The combined toilets/showers with open gaps at the bottom of partitions means soiled water comes in from the cubicle next to you. Feces can be seen on the cubicle floors at times. There have to be more toilet blocks. There need to be more facilities for women. There is no cleaning of the toilets and showers. The litter and food waste builds up in the streets and there is clearly little management of what is going on other than occasional clear ups. The coaches cannot get through and when they do they leave their engines running with air pollution an additional problem.

The stoning of the Jamarat is a real issue. The walk through the tunnels is difficult, air quality in the tunnels deteriorates later in the day. There is no drinking water available in the tunnels but most worrying is the apparent lack of a service tunnel so in an emergency there is no quick access for emergency services.
There is little or no management of crowds at the Jamarat. It was life threatening with unregulated crowds entering the area, and then a bottleneck on the way out with people struggling to get across to exist. This was the most serious problem area.

There needs to be a system of traffic lights coordinated through all of the tunnels to the movement of people can be managed. Muzdalifah is a serious problem. The constant arrival and departure of coaches is making this a huge health hazards with dust and fumes affecting air quality. We were not prepared for this — the sense was of a night sleeping in the desert under the stars — the reality was sleeping on what felt more like a sandy car park under floodlights amidst dust and fumes.

My wife and I both returned with chest infections and we have both had to have courses of antibiotics and other medication — it hasn't cleared yet for either of us. There is a real risk of people with infections coming back and going to their local mosques and spreading illness. We have deliberately kept away from our local mosque for this reason.

Finally, there has got to be some kind of consideration given regarding flu risk. We had our flu jabs, but that will not minimize the risk of seasonal flu strains from around the world coming together at Mina and creating more problematic strains. Mina is, in my view, a global flu pandemic health risk and this has got to be given serious thought. — Richard Bryant-Jefferies, Epsom, England

 

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...
NAJRAN: School of Dentistry students at Najran University expressed disappointment with group failure of 13 students, accusing the faculty members of being unfair with their examinations.The university spokesman, Dr. Zuhair Al-Omari, said the eighth...
JEDDAH: Pakistan and Kashmir expatriates observed Kashmir Solidarity Day at the residence of Pakistan Consul General Shehryar Akbar Khan on Friday.Abdul Aziz Al-Jiffry, professor at King Abdul Aziz University, was the chief guest.The event was meant...
RIYADH: The Sri Lankan government has urged its overseas workers to register with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) before they leave abroad for employment.Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale told the overseas workers tha...

Stay Connected

Facebook