Al-Rabeeah: Street sleepers doubled the pilgrim numbers

Updated 31 October 2012
0

Al-Rabeeah: Street sleepers doubled the pilgrim numbers

MINA: Muslims who performed Haj without permits, many of whom slept on streets, doubled the number of pilgrims estimated by Ministry of Health this year, Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said yesterday.

He said the huge number of illegal pilgrims made it difficult to provide the necessary medical services to the visitors.
“It is the most difficult challenge for our ministry to estimate the numbers and prepare our cadres in accordance to it and then we get it doubled,” Dr. Al-Rabeeah said at a press conference in Mina.
Nonetheless, he said Haj 2012 was a big success, free of epidemic and quarantine diseases.
He said that 362,740 pilgrims visited the ministry’s medical facilities during the past four days. An estimated 463 had heart catheterization, 35 had open heart operations and 2,024 underwent dialysis. He added that 443 pilgrims were taken from Makkah and Madinah hospitals to the holy sites to continue their rituals after being treated.
Al-Rabeeah said most of the cases received in Mina hospitals were colds and fatigue. The other ailments included diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The ministry received specialists from World Health Organization, who helped investigate epidemic diseases to ensure the pilgrims safety.
The minister said that two countries were not allowed to send pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the sake of the safety of God’s visitors.
He refused to identify the countries.
“WHO is now coordinating with these two countries and will ensure to help them out ending the disease,” Al-Rabeeah said.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
0

World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”