2001 News Story

Successful culmination of Hajj 1421 (Hajj 1421)

In a statement released on March 5, 2001 the Ministry of Planning gave the total number of pilgrims for the Hajj of 1421 H [2001] as 1,804,800. Of these, 1,363,992 came from outside the Kingdom; and 440,808 were resident in Saudi Arabia, the majority of them non-Saudis.

After an inspection tour on March 6, Minister of Health Dr. Osama Shobokshi reported no cases of epidemic disease, saying that most of the medical cases have been for minor ailments such as fatigue, digestive inflammations, and respiratory infections. Referring to the tragic incident at Jamarat Al-Aqaba, he attributed the accident to miscalculation on the part of some pilgrims who had carried their personal belongings with them and left them on the ground, where they hampered movement and caused other pilgrims to stumble over them. He praised the officials on the spot for their swift intervention, which dramatically restricted the number of casualties, and offered his condolences to the families of the victims, who were mainly from Egypt, Turkey, and the Indian subcontinent.

On March 7, Governor of Makkah Province Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz, who chairs the Central Hajj Committee, confirmed that all had gone well for this year's pilgrimage, with the health situation in general excellent, and no cases requiring quarantine. For his part, Director-General of Civil Defense Major-General Sa'ad bin Abdullah Al-Tuweijri expressed satisfaction that this year's Hajj was free from mishaps such as incidents of fire, and praised both the efforts of the civil defense personnel and the cooperation of the pilgrims themselves in abiding by the royal decree forbidding the use of kerosene.

Meanwhile, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali reported today that a total of 603,393 head of sheep and 6,136 head of cattle and camels have been slaughtered in Mina under the Kingdom's project for utilization of sacrificial meat. Of these, 61,149 were distributed to the poor living near the Holy Sites and to the pilgrims in Mina. The meat of 2,488 animals was sent yesterday by air to Afghan refugees in Peshawar in Pakistan, as part of the plan to distribute the sacrificial meat to the needy and to refugees in 27 Islamic countries and communities.

Today, the Ministry of Pilgrimage held its annual reception for the heads of Hajj missions and honored guests. In his speech, Minister of Pilgrimage Imad Madani spoke of arrangements for the next Hajj season, including the work of the task force, formed recently at the Malaysian conference, on enlightenment of pilgrims prior to their arrival at the Holy Sites, especially in the areas of health, hygiene and environmental protection. Minister Madani went on to stress that the official guides establishments alone are authorized to serve pilgrims from abroad, and that it is not permissible for agreements to be made directly with any tourism agencies or commercial companies to arrange these services.