Mashair train service ready to serve Hajis

Updated 12 September 2012
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Mashair train service ready to serve Hajis

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Mansour bin Miteb will inspect the Mashair Railway project on Sunday, Al-Madinah reported yesterday. It was quoting undersecretary of the ministry Habib Zain Al-Abideen, who is supervisor of the central projects at the holy sites.
He said during the visit, the minister would check if the train is ready to transport pilgrims during the upcoming Haj season, tour the three main stations, and follow up the train’s operational plan during Haj. Zain Al-Abideen said the ministry was considering using buses to transport pilgrims from faraway camps to the train stations. The company that operates the train has already started experimental operation, which will continue until Oct. 1. During this period, the company will carry out maintenance work at the stations.
There are 20 trains of each 300 meters long and with a capacity of 3,500 pilgrims per trip. The trains will be transporting about 72,000 pilgrims in one hour, and over six hours they will be transporting 500,000 pilgrims from Makkah to Mina and then from Mina to Arafat. The company has started receiving applications from Saudi youths for seasonal jobs during the Haj season. There are about 4,000 job opportunities for them to work as security guards and administrators.
Director-General of the project Fahd Muhammad Abu Tarboush said the train is characterized by its fast speed and height above the ground. He said the train would cross the distance between Arafat and Mina in 13 minutes and between Arafat and Muzdalifah in seven minutes.
Undersecretary for Haj affairs and transport Sahal Al-Sabban said the ascent from Mina to Arafat and the return of pilgrims to Muzdalifah would be done according to a tight schedule that would ensure the easy and safe arrival of pilgrims to the holy sites.
He said pilgrims living in camps 500 meters away from the main station would be brought by buses.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary of the Haj Ministry Isa bin Muhammad Rawwas has threatened Umrah service companies that they will not be granted visas for their pilgrims if the latter decide to overstay in the Kingdom. “The Umrah companies’ electronic systems for processing of visas will automatically be stopped if the company’s pilgrims do not leave the Kingdom on time,” he said. Rawwas said the maximum limit of overstaying should not exceed 1 percent or 500 pilgrims, after which the Umrah company will be subjected to punishment.

He said the ministry had asked all Umrah service providers to supply it with their operational plans consisting of the number of pilgrims they will be bringing in, their nationalities, and dates of their arrivals and departures.
Rawwas described the latest Umrah season, which climaxed in Ramadan, to be the largest in the history of the Kingdom. “More than 5.3 million people came for Umrah during this season,” he recalled.
He said the largest number of Umrah visas were given to Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.
According to Rawwas, 3.3 million pilgrims arrived via King Abdulaziz International Airport, while about a million of them came through Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah.
He said until last week, about 120,000 pilgrims still remained in Madinah waiting to go back home.


Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.