FaceOf: Gen. Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director-general of the Saudi Border Guards

Gen. Awwad Eid Al-Balawi
Updated 24 August 2018

FaceOf: Gen. Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director-general of the Saudi Border Guards

  • Al-Balawi extended his congratulations to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the success and completion of Hajj season this year

Gen. Awwad Eid Al-Balawi has been the director-general of Border Guards since January 2014. He was appointed acting director-general of the Border Guard in August 2014 following the death of Gen. Zamim Al-Sawat.

Al-Balawi extended his congratulations to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the success and completion of Hajj season this year.

He said: “The state has made every effort to provide all the human and material resources and these efforts culminated in a successful pilgrimage season witnessed and conveyed by the local, Arab and international media.”

Al-Balawi added: “It is a great responsibility that is taken very seriously by the country from which Islam has stemmed, to serve Islam and Muslims from all parts of the world in a moderate Islamic approach.”

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Pakistan Naval Academy and master’s degree from the World Maritime University in Sweden.

Al-Balawi previously held various other positions, completed several advanced training courses and attended local and international conferences on conflict management, negotiation skills, problem analysis, crisis environmental management, decision-making and piracy.

He also served as the chairman of the standing committee for the management of maritime disasters and participated in the work of international committees fighting piracy.

Al-Balawi was also a member of the Saudi delegation at International Maritime Organization meetings.

The Border Guard, based in Riyadh, maintains security on the Kingdom’s 8,000-km sea and land borders. 


Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 11 min 26 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.