A new plan of operation for effectively managing crowds during the Haj and Umrah seasons will divide the areas close to the Haram Mosque to three zones.
“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj Research prepared the plan for crowd management in the Central Zone around the Makkah Haram area. According to the plan, the Grand Mosque, the external courtyards, and the roads leading to the Grand Mosque will be considered three separate zones,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Muhammad Idris said in a statement.
Each zone will have a separate operation plan in which all government departments related to pilgrims under the Makkah governorate will participate. The Ministry of Haj, Public Security, Civil Defense and the Ministry of Health are part of the plan. Under the plan, action teams for assisting in the smooth and safe arrival and departure of Haj and Umrah pilgrims to the Grand Mosque are to be set up, Al-Eqtisadiah daily reported yesterday.
Idris said the road map for the execution of the plan describes the distribution of tasks of these teams.
“The plan requires detailed information on all the departments that will participate in its implementation. It should know in advance the precise number of officials available, including their tasks and work times. These details are significant because the essential part of the plan is to directly contact a team which must find instant solutions when a problem arises at any location in the Haram area,” he said.
For instance, if a problem is related to Civil Defense, the team assigned to deal with that kind of problem should be immediately contacted and asked to solve it right away,” he said.
“Or, if garbage is accumulating in any zone, the team responsible could instantly be contacted for the immediate removal of the garbage. On the other hand, in normal circumstances, each department will have its own work and responsibilities, which consumes a lot of time,” he said.
The plan also provided for the discovery of why such problems appeared in the first place, and what should be done to avoid the recurrence of such issues in the future, he said.
The operation plan also calls for a field team, under joint command, whose purpose is to rapidly intervene in the event of any problem arising at these locations, he said, adding that the field team has the freedom to act quickly without waiting for formal permission or instructions from other departments.
“We will also set up an observation room equipped with advanced cameras and high-tech support systems that will observe changing situations on the grounds. We will issue warnings round-the-clock about likely developments,” Idris said.
He added that if the crowds on the roads, or any other location, reached a particular level, alternative roads would be opened to divert them. The plan also included the setting up of an advisory team to offer solutions and advice to the field teams.
The Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj Research collects data and engages in research activities to help improve safety and ease congestion at locations of the Haj and Umrah, and at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. Though the research establishment began functioning in 1975 under a different name, it was affiliated to the Umm Al-Qura University in 1983 and given a new name in 1998.