Makkah: Emergency officials in Saudi Arabia say more than 1,000 pilgrims were safely evacuated from a hotel in Makkah during a fire there ahead of the Haj.
Firefighters “rescued two pilgrims who were hurt” by the fire in an eighth-floor room of the unnamed hotel, the agency said.
The hajj is expected to start on Monday.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has commended the Saudi Arabia authorities for announcing compensations for victims of last Friday’s crane crash in the precinct of Ka’aba in Makkah leading to 111 deaths and 331 injuries.
The mosque, Islam’s holiest site, has in its centre, the cube-shaped Kaaba to which Muslims around the world direct their faces in their daily prayers.
Meanwhile, Saudi authorities said 1.2 million Muslims had arrived in the kingdom for the 2015 haj.
“As for those pilgrims who are supposed to remain at hospitals for some more time, their relatives will be granted special visit visas to take care of them at hospitals during the remaining period of the Hajj season until they return home”, the King’s order stated. Negotiations that have been going on for over two weeks between Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Afairs, and the Saudi hajj and foreign affairs ministries concerning allowing bedoons (stateless) from Kuwait to perform hajj this year were finally settled with a final decision from Saudi authorities to stop acceptig temporary passports issued for bedoons.
In 2006, a stampede killed nearly 350 pilgrims. In recent years, the oil-rich kingdom has invested in making the pilgrimage rituals easier and safer.