Haj pilgrims to get e-bracelets for safety: Saudi media

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RIYADH: Pilgrims join­ing this year’s Haj in Saudi Arabia will have to wear an electronic safety bracelet, newspapers reported Friday, after more than 2,000 died in a stampede last year. 

The high-tech safety mea­sure will help authorities pro­vide care “and identify peo­ple”, the Arab News and Saudi Gazette reported. 

At least 2,297 pilgrims died during the stampede on September 24 during last year’s Haj, according to data from foreign officials, some of whom expressed concerns about difficulty in identify­ing the victims. Saudi Ara­bia issued a death toll of 769. It was the worst disaster in Haj history. 

The bracelets are water re­sistant, connected to a GPS lo­cation system, and store each pilgrim’s personal information including address and medical records, the newspapers said. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior min­ister who also chairs the Haj committee, ordered a probe immediately after the stam­pede disaster last year but there has been no word on its findings. 

The tragedy happened as pilgrims made their way in searing temperatures to the Jamarat, the place where they ritually stone the devil in the city of Mina in western Saudi Arabia. 

The Haj and Umrah pil­grimages bring millions of Muslims to Saudi Arabia ev­ery year. 

In another safety mea­sure, more than 800 surveil­lance cameras have been installed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque, the Saudi Gazette re­ported this month. 

 

 

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