Hajj pilgrims perform the Farewell Tawaf
Saudi Arabia has put into action several plans to provide high-quality services to Hajj pilgrims. Image Credit: SPA/Twitter

Dubai: The Holy Capital Secretariat has announced it is fully prepared for the upcoming Hajj season 1444, having put into action extensive plans and programmes to provide high-quality services to the pilgrims visiting the Grand Mosque.

According to Osama Zaitouni, spokesman of Mecca Mayoralty, the Secretariat has assembled a massive workforce along with necessary mechanical support to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of the guests.

In addition to its existing staff of 3,159 individuals, the Secretariat has hired 22,000 personnel for the Hajj season. This includes 14,000 employees of the sanitation contractor, 3,600 members of the staff of the contractors of operation, maintenance, lighting, cleaning facilities and slaughtering units, and 300 supporting members of the Scouts. These forces will be stationed across 13 sub-municipalities, three subordinate municipalities, and 28 service centres in the holy sites.

Zaitouni elaborated that hygiene measures are in place, with modern equipment and round-the-clock service to keep the areas clean. Teams are also ready to respond to emergencies such as fire or heavy rain. Food safety teams will ensure the integrity of food items offered in markets, restaurants, and catering services.

Furthermore, the Secretariat, collaborating with government agencies, will supervise the operation and cleanliness of the slaughterhouses in the holy sites, operating under the kingdom project to benefit from gifts and sacrifices.

The plan also includes monitoring municipal facilities in Mecca and the holy sites, such as roads, lighting networks, maintenance of tunnels, bridges, public toilets, and more. The Secretariat stressed that these efforts will significantly contribute to the successful and smooth conduct of the Hajj season 2023.

To cope with the high footfall, cleanup crews will be working around the clock in crowded areas, on overlapping shifts. In case of emergencies such as heavy rainfall or fires, central teams are in place to provide swift response. To manage waste efficiently, 110 ground-based waste stores have been established for temporary storage after compaction, along with 1,070 boxes, nine large, compressed trailers, four transitional stations, and around 40,000 containers with a capacity of 240 litres each.

Concerning food safety and compliance, the Secretariat has organised teams and committees to monitor markets, food stores, restaurants, and catering services throughout the day and night. They are equipped with state-of-the-art mobile laboratories to analyse food and water samples, ensuring the safety of the items being traded and consumed. Coordinating with various government agencies involved in the Hajj operations, the Secretariat has formed multiple committees to manage different aspects of the event.