127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are ready to perform Hajj this year

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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslims go to passport control upon their arrival at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are ready to perform Hajj this year

  • According to the Hajj agreement with Saudi Arabia, this year a total of 126,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform the Hajj.
  • Authorities in Dhaka have organized special flights to carry the pilgrims to Makkah.

DHAKA: The intended Hajj pilgrims of Bangladesh are now busy with their final preparations to take their flights to Makkah. According to the Hajj agreement with Saudi Arabia, this year a total of 126,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform the Hajj.
Authorities in Dhaka have organized special flights to carry the pilgrims to Makkah.
Mohammad Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj office in Dhaka, told Arab News that the Bangladesh government will send 6,798 pilgrims through its own management and the other 120,000 will be managed by the 1,200 private Hajj agencies.
“We have completed all the preparations to send the pilgrims to holy Makkah and special Hajj flights started from Dhaka to Makkah on July 14,” said Islam.
The religious affairs ministry of Bangladesh has provided orientation training to all the pilgrims in 64 districts of Bangladesh. Here they were taught all the basics of Hajj and other formalities while staying in Saudi Arabia, he said.
He added that a 40-member team comprising doctors and nurses are in Saudi Arabia now to look after the Bangladeshi pilgrims. Besides, a significant number of administrative officers who were sent from Dhaka are also working round the clock along with the Bangladesh Mission staff to meet the queries and problems of the Bangladeshi pilgrims.
In any emergency situation the pilgrims will be able “to reach the hotline numbers where the Bangladeshi Hajj associates will be attending them,” Islam said.
Before taking the Hajj flights, Bangladeshi pilgrims gather in a permanent Hajj camp at Ashkona near the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka to complete the final preparations.
“I am very happy and grateful to the Almighty Allah as I have got the chance to perform the holy Hajj. Here everything is going fine. Now I am counting the days till that auspicious moment ” said Abdur Rahman, 72, a pilgrim waiting for his flight on Saturday at Ashkona Hajj Camp, Dhaka.
Hajjera Khatun, 59, another pilgrim, said: “From my early days I dreamt of performing the holy Hajj. Now, I am feeling lucky as Allah has given me the ability to perform it.”
Every year, Hajj Agencies of Bangladesh (HAB), the private Hajj operators, send the majority of the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“We have already sent 35,000 pilgrims. And our Hajj flights will continue till Aug. 16,” said M. Shahdat Hossain Taslim, secretary-general of HAB.
Taslim conveyed his gratitude to the Saudi embassy officials in Dhaka for their relentless effort and support to HAB in managing thousands of Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims.
He said Biman Bangladesh Airlines (the official carrier of Bangladesh) and Saudi Airlines are both carrying the Bangladeshi pilgrims through special Hajj flights to Saudi Arabia.
The return Hajj flights are scheduled on Aug 27.


SOS Mediterranee relaunch migrant rescue missions off Libya

The Aquarius rescue vessel, chartered by French NGO SOS-Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is docked in Marseille harbour, on December 7, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 50 min 43 sec ago
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SOS Mediterranee relaunch migrant rescue missions off Libya

  • SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) “are back at sea with a new vessel, the Ocean Viking"
  • It has been an imperative for both SOS Mediterranee and MSF to return at sea following the ending of their operations with the Aquarius in December 2018

PARIS: Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee said Sunday it has relaunched migrant rescue operations off Libya, seven months after it was forced to abandon efforts using its ship Aquarius.

SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) “are back at sea with a new vessel, the Ocean Viking, to conduct search and rescue activities in the central Mediterranean,” it said.

“As people are still fleeing Libya on one of the most perilous sea crossings in the world, and with almost no available rescue assets present in the central Mediterranean, it has been an imperative for both SOS Mediterranee and MSF to return at sea following the ending of their operations with the Aquarius in December 2018.”