Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah
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Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah
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Updated 07 July 2014

Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

Pilgrims and visitors are becoming hard-pressed to find bottled Zamzam water with the influx of worshippers flocking to the Grand Mosque during Ramadan and the lack of availability at points of sale.
While Zamzam water, which comes from the Zamzam well at Makkah, is available in abundance in the coolers inside the mosque, pilgrims are unable to find bottled Zamzam water because the only sale point is located in a district that is not frequented by foreign pilgrims.
“I can’t find any bottles to take back to my hotel room,” said Mohammed Abid, an Indian pilgrim who has come to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.
“I also find it too embarrassing to fill an empty bottle with water from the cooler since so many people are waiting in the queue to drink behind me.”
“I want to take Zamzam bottles back home with me, but I can’t find any to purchase,” said Swad Al-Bastawesi, an elderly Egyptian pilgrim.
Other pilgrims echoed similar views about the nonavailability of Zamzam water.
“Around 1,200 cubic meters of Zamzam are consumed every single day inside the Grand Mosque and 486 cubic meters in the surrounding courtyards,” said Ahmed Al-Matrafi, director of the Zamzam Water Department at the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs.
“This translates into around 3 million cups of water daily.”
“In addition, around 300 cubic meters are supplied to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.”
Supplies are only available in abundance at the Zamzam filling station, located in a faraway area known only to local residents. The filling station, operated by the National Water Company (NWC), is part of a King Abdullah project launched for this purpose.
The area is not even known to residents from Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom.
“I was approached by several brokers offering to buy the Zamzam filling coupons I had gotten my hands on for double the price, much to my surprise,” said Mohammed Saleem, a Pakistani expatriate who works in Makkah.
The NWC sells coupons for SR5 for a 10-liter jar.
A Saudi national is entitled to 20 jars, while expats are entitled to acquiring 10 jars a month.
The quota, however, is reduced during the peak seasons of Ramadan and Haj.
Saleh M. Sulaimi, a Saudi national, warned that a black market for Zamam water is emerging in the absence of points of sale around the Grand Mosque and in parking and public places.
Inspection squads from the Makkah Municipality and Commerce Ministry recently seized thousands of fake Zamzam water bottles.
Pilgrims can also purchase Zamzam water at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and the airport in Madinah, even though other nearby outlets are limited to selling a five-liter bottle per person.
“I managed to purchase a 10-liter quantity for SR35 at the airport in Jeddah,” said Mohammed Irshad Ali Parvez, an Indian expatriate.


Experts say Ramadan is the best time to shape up and gain fitness

Experts say Ramadan is the best time to shape up and gain fitness
The Saudi Sports for All Federation launched a campaign encouraging people to walk or run 20 kilometers for 20 days during Ramadan. (SPA)
Updated 9 min 44 sec ago

Experts say Ramadan is the best time to shape up and gain fitness

Experts say Ramadan is the best time to shape up and gain fitness
  • The Saudi Sports for All Federation launched ‘Step Together’ campaign to help people stay active during the holy month

JEDDAH: While consuming excessive food during the month of Ramadan goes against the purpose of the holy month, for many Saudis and people of the region, it is a time to indulge in special foods, which often leads to overeating.

For years, Saudis have been facing problems with obesity, with unhealthy diets leading to a variety of poor health conditions. While numerous campaigns have been launched to combat this issue, including by the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), their advice seems to fall on deaf ears during Ramadan.
Arab News spoke to experts — nutritionists and fitness trainers — who discussed their tips to help curb hunger and maintain a healthy weight.
Saudi fitness trainer Nouf Hamadallah, 37, explained that there is no best time to exercise during Ramadan; rather, the time and intensity of the workout can vary from person to person.
“Exercising during Ramadan depends on the flexibility of one’s schedule. There’s no specific time to work out. Most people who believe this are misinformed by what they read,” she told Arab News.

FASTFACTS

• A nationwide cross-sectional survey conducted over phone interviews across 13 regions of the Kingdom in June 2020 showed that the national weighted prevalence of obesity was 24.7 percent.

• It highlighted that obesity was significantly associated with Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, among other diseases.

“One common bit of advice in popular articles says that if people work out before iftar, they will burn calories and lose weight. But this depends on their goals and calorie
intake. Some people cannot work out while fasting because they feel sick and nauseous, and their blood sugar drops. Then they become discouraged from exercising, not knowing that all they have to do is change the timing and nature of their workout. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.”
She added that it is easy to lose muscle mass if people do not choose the right foods for iftar and sahoor, also stressing that it is essential to hydrate during breakfast. Should one choose to work out right before iftar, a protein shake and a nutrient-dense meal with few carbs are advised in breaking fast.

If anyone wants to adopt healthy habits or break bad ones, Ramadan is an excellent chance to do so.

Arwa Bajkhaif, Dietician

“What you eat for sahoor will determine your energy levels for the next day, too. It should be a meal with a good amount of protein and vegetables,” said Hamadallah. “When your body is depleted of energy, the first thing you look for is sugar, and that’s what we want to avoid.”
Digestive problems such as acid reflux also occur due to poor eating habits in Ramadan, she added, and people with such digestive issues need to take note of the specific foods that irritate their stomachs.
She recommended that they avoid these foods if they are planning to exercise and instead have a few dates, soup and maybe a cup of coffee before beginning their workout, saving a full meal for afterward.
Iftar and sahoor also need to be divided into portions to avoid digestive problems, she added.
Saudi clinical and sports dietitian Arwa Bajkhaif, 29, said Ramadan is a “golden opportunity” to fast and practice self-control. If anyone wants to adopt healthy habits or break bad ones, Ramadan is an excellent chance to do so.

What you eat for sahoor will determine your energy levels for the next day.

Nouf Hamadallah, Fitness trainer

“People should know their dietary requirements and follow a suitable diet for their particular health situation during the holy month of Ramadan,” Bajkaif told Arab News
“For individuals with chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend seeing an endocrinologist for insulin and medication adjustments and a clinical dietitian for follow-ups to adjust the amount and type of carbohydrates accordingly.”
As for changing one’s eating habits, she suggested that people should not adopt more than three easy and healthy habits. “Being realistic and specific is key to achieving health goals.”
Saudi dietitian Alaa Gotah advised people to drink plenty of water between iftar and sahoor, avoid sugary drinks especially during iftar to maintain insulin levels, and eat plenty of hydrating food such as salads while limiting the intake of carbohydrates and sweets.
She stressed that fasting cleanses the body of toxins and forces cells into processes that are not usually stimulated when a steady stream of fuel from food is always present.
“Sahoor should include a healthy amount of fiber, which stays for a long time in the intestines. To reduce the feeling of thirst and hunger, it’s recommended to eat fruits that contain dietary fiber and magnesium, such as bananas, dates and watermelon,” Gotah told Arab News.  
A nationwide cross-sectional survey conducted over phone interviews across 13 regions in June 2020 titled “Obesity in Saudi Arabia in 2020: Prevalence, Distribution, and its Current Association with Various Health Conditions” showed that the national weighted prevalence of obesity was 24.7 percent.
The study highlighted that obesity was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, among other diseases.
The Saudi Sports for All Federation launched a campaign to help people stay active during the holy month, presenting the Ramadan edition of “Step Together,” where people are encouraged to walk or run 20 kilometers for 20 days during Ramadan.


Saudi Arabia and Greece sign defense agreement

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. (SPA)
Updated 40 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Arabia and Greece sign defense agreement

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’a Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Greece, aspects of joint cooperation in various fields, and ways to support and develop it. They also discussed current regional issues and the efforts made toward solving them.
The meeting was attended by Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, along with Greece’s Minister of National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kingdom and Greece signed an agreement related to defense cooperation during a series of ministerial meetings in Riyadh.

Opinion

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At the beginning of the meeting, the Saudi and Greek foreign ministers signed an agreement regarding draft arrangements for the legal status of the Greek armed forces participating in supporting the Kingdom’s defense capabilities.
Prince Faisal then held official talks with the two visiting ministers to discuss bilateral relations, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Following the meeting, Panagiotopoulos said “Greece and Saudi Arabia are linked by strong friendships, have common concerns about current geostrategic challenges and a common vision for the future.”
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also held talks with Dendias and his accompanying delegation.
Nayef Al-Hajraf, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), met Dendias and Panagiotopoulos, where he stressed the importance of growing Gulf-Greek relations.
Al-Hajraf and Dendias signed a memorandum of understandingfor consultations on issues of common interest between the GCC’s General Secretariat and the Greek government.
Al-Hajraf said the agreement included a mechanism for cooperating and consulting in the political, economic, commercial and investment fields.


Saudi king and crown prince offer condolences over Egypt train accident

Saudi king and crown prince offer condolences over Egypt train accident
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi king and crown prince offer condolences over Egypt train accident

Saudi king and crown prince offer condolences over Egypt train accident
  • At least 11 people were killed and nearly 100 injured when a train derailed outside Cairo

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, following a train accident in Qalyubia province, north of the capital.
At least 11 people were killed and nearly 100 injured on Sunday when four train carriages derailed in the city of Banha. The train was traveling to the Nile Delta city of Mansoura from Cairo.
The king said: “We received the news of a train accident in Qalyubia province in Egypt on April 18 resulting in deaths and injuries.
“We send to Your Excellency and to all the families of the deceased our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy,” King Salman adding, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a similar cable to the Egyptian president.


Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,070 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,070 new cases
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,070 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,070 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 940 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 483

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,846.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,070 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 407,010 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,626 remain active and 1,105 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 483, followed by Makkah with 209, the Eastern Province with 157, Madinah recorded 44, and Asir confirmed 39 cases.

The ministry also announced that 940 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 390,538.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 141 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.01 million.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and China’s president discuss climate change

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping to strengthening relations. (File/SPA/AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping to strengthening relations. (File/SPA/AFP)
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and China’s president discuss climate change

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping to strengthening relations. (File/SPA/AFP)
  • Kingdom is working to organize an annual summit for the Middle East Green Initiative, with China as a major partner
  • They also discussed cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and technology

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the call, the two leader reviewed the recently announced Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative to combat environmental challenges in the region.
The crown prince announced the two initiatives in late March that aim to form partnerships with regional countries to tackle afforestation, reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent, and protect the marine environment, among other projects.
The crown prince and the president discussed the contributions of these two initiatives toward achieving global targets to combat climate change, and their influential role in raising the quality of life in the region and the world at large.
The crown prince said the Kingdom is working to organize an annual summit for the Middle East Green Initiative in the presence of leaders and officials in the environmental field, adding that China will be a major partner for the initiative.
The Chinese president said Beijing supported both initiatives, stressing the importance of their support by the international community.
Xi told the crown prince that China wants to advance its strategic partnership with the Kingdom.
The crown prince and the president also discussed cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and technology.
Prince Mohammed said his country was ready to strengthen the interconnection between the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
During the call, Xi said Beijing “is willing to work with Saudi Arabia and other members of the international community to build an equitable climate governance regime that is cooperative and beneficial to all,” Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chinese president also called for joint efforts to comprehensively and effectively implement “the Paris Agreement on climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”