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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.

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