12 October 2015
In 1990, a stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel leading out from Mecca to Mina took the lives of 1,426 pilgrims. In 1997, a fire in a tent city near Mecca killed 343. More recently in 2006, another stampede killed 346 people.
Since then, the Saudi authorities have put in place measures to safeguard the safety of pilgrims visiting Mecca and Mina. Quotas have been imposed to restrict the number of visitors from other countries every year.
And following the 2006 stampede, the Jamarat Bridge was expanded to accommodate 250,000 pilgrims every hour. New crowd control and security measures have also been implemented.
… Associate Professor Mohd Nawab Osman, Coordinator, Malaysia Programme, from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, believes that a confluence of a multitude of cultures coming together in such a grand scale is a contributing factor. The million or so pilgrims coming from different countries with differing cultural attitudes to such events can cause some lapses in following rules and instructions.
Said Assoc Prof Nawab: “I think people need to be educated about the process of what the Haj is all about, the kind of rituals that you’re supposed to do, and the rules and regulations you’re supposed to follow.
“In certain countries like Singapore, Malaysia and western countries, there is a proper system in place where people are educated about these things. I think the same would need to be done for some of the third world countries. That’s crucial.”
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015