Mobilizing staff and volunteers to support 3 million pilgrims

Published: 29 October 2012 9:35 CET

This year - as in other years - the Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society is playing its part to provide a secure, safe and comfortable environment for visitors to Mecca and Medina during the annual pilgrimage to mark the first day of Eid-al-Adha.

Each year approximately 3 million people travel to the country in one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and the National Society, its staff and volunteers play a key role in providing emergency medical support and services across the country.

His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Chairman of the National Society, has developed a programme of support that includes over 1,000 paramedics, 510 ambulances and 154 seasonal medical centres able to deal with almost any type of emergency.

Mohamed Babiker, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ regional representative for the Gulf, who is making the pilgrimage this year said: “The experience of the Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society in serving the pilgrims in the holy place who perform pilgrimage is a unique one. To mobilize over 1,000 first aiders, and hundreds of ambulances to provide medical and health services for over three million people at the same time and the same place with very professional and organized manner is a considerable challenge. They deserve our thanks and appreciation.”

Staff and volunteers from the society will be present in both fixed and seasonal medical centres in the cities of Mecca and Medina, and also on popular routes into and out of the country.

Teams include doctors and other medical staff, technicians, drivers, and ambulances. The organization’s air ambulance fleet will be also available for emergencies that may require them, and four sites have been prepared for air ambulances to land.