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Civil Defense ready for peak Ramadan crowds

MAKKAH: Lt. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri, director general of Civil Defense, said Wednesday that his department was fully prepared to deal with the large crowd of worshippers in the last 10 days of Ramadan at the holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah.

“We have increased the number of officers deployed in the two mosques by 30 percent in anticipation of the large turnout of worshippers from within and outside the Kingdom,” Lt. Gen. Al-Tuwaijri said.

He said additional numbers of officers would be deployed to support officers who had already taken their positions in various parts of the two cities to tackle any eventualities.

“At the Grand Mosque in Makkah alone, we will deploy 1,000 additional officers during the last 10 days of Ramadan,” the general said. They will be provided with the necessary equipment to make quick intervention whenever required.

He said the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah would also receive an additional staff of 1,000.

“Our officers will be deployed in various parts of the Grand Mosque, including the areas where new expansion works are going on and its courtyards as well as main roads leading to the mosque, vital installations that serve pilgrims,” Al-Tuwaijri said.

He emphasized the Civil Defense’s efforts to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims and visitors. “We will remove all obstacles that harm the public and deal firmly with any move to exploit the increase in the number of pilgrims,” he said.

He described the huge crowd of worshippers in the last 10 days of Ramadan as a big challenge for Civil Defense officers as well as public and private agencies that serve the guests of God.

“The Civil Defense officers have gained a lot of experience in dealing with different situations during the peak days of Ramadan,” the general said. “We control the flow of pilgrims to and from the Grand Mosque to avoid possible stampedes,” he added.

A number of cameras has been installed in various parts of the Grand Mosque and the central region of Makkah to monitor the movements of pilgrims and make necessary intervention whenever required, he said. The pilgrims’ movements are monitored from the operations room.

The department has already deployed 9,600 officers in Makkah with 1,440 pieces of equipment and machinery, and 2,000 officers with 400 pieces of equipment. “We have introduced an advanced system to assess the performance of our officers and working teams,” Al-Tuwaijri said.