More than 2,400 Red Crescent volunteers on ground to serve pilgrims during hajj

Publicado: 10 septiembre 2016 15:10 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

On the eve of hajj season 2016, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority has doubled its efforts and is working relentlessly to ensure pilgrims have access to different types of services while performing religious rites. The Red Crescent started implementing this year’s hajj plan several weeks before Eid Al Adha, or pilgrimage season, through the mobilisation of its resources and the launch of a nation-wide awareness campaign.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has mobilized its medical and administrative teams to serve pilgrims in Mecca and Medina. More than 2,400 Red Crescent volunteers and staff have been deployed on ground. The organization has also set up more than 110 aid stations inside the holy sites and on roads leading to them, and erected six other seasonal stations on highways leading to Mecca to respond to urgent cases without any delay. These newly-found stations are an addition to the permanent ones on highways, inside cities and on border crossings. The medical stations were supported with trained medical staff and new equipment, in addition to fully-equipped operation rooms.

The Red Crescent mobilized 290 ambulances, 25 motorbikes and eight helicopters to evacuate cases that require immediate medical intervention. Pilots, co-pilots, in addition to technical and medical experts will be on board ready to go on any urgent mission. As well, about 100 doctors, 1,550 emergency medical service experts, 1,550 emergency and ambulance technicians will be on duty during hajj, in addition to 1,400 volunteers supporting medical teams.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority launched as well a campaign to raise awareness on health issues that pilgrims can suffer during hajj, and is making information available on how to deal in case of sickness and how to get help. Several awareness booths were erected at Jeddah port and airport, and screens were hanged in Mina to disseminate awareness messages in different languages. Screens that were already available at ports and airports in Jeddah, Mecca, Al Taef and Medina were also used for that purpose. In addition, Red Crescent volunteers on ground are distributing brochures with important information, drinking water and umbrellas to protect from the sun to pilgrims arriving through Jeddah airport. The Saudi Red Crescent Society also took to its accounts on social media to send out health awareness messages.

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is an occasion that joins together the greatest number of Muslim believers in one place, and is one of the most crowded events in the world. Every year, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority exerts great efforts and mobilizes its staff, volunteers and resources to ensure pilgrims have a good hajj experience and have access to all services they might need while performing religious rites.