HAJJ 2024: SAUDI ARABIA IMPLEMENTS ADVANCED COOLING TECHNIQUES IN HOLY SITES AMID SCORCHING HEAT

Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH —

As of Saturday, approximately 1.8 million pilgrims began their journey to the holy sites for the Hajj pilgrimage, braving temperatures that reach up to 48 degrees Celsius.

To mitigate the extreme heat, a comprehensive system has been put in place utilizing the latest ground-cooling technologies, fire-resistant and heat-resistant tent materials, and modern air conditioning systems.

Additionally, misting columns and spray nozzles are deployed across various areas to provide relief to the pilgrims.

The paths used by the pilgrims are transformed into mist-covered walkways, an initiative by Hajj organizers to lower temperatures and increase cooling efficiency. The white coating technique on asphalt surfaces reduces their temperature by about 20 degrees Celsius, utilizing locally manufactured materials that absorb less solar radiation.

The Arafat plain is renowned for its green "Neem" trees, which number over 600,000 according to some sources. These trees, in conjunction with air-conditioned tents, help reduce temperatures and create a cooler environment for pilgrims who stay from sunrise to sunset on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

The General Authority for Roads, as stated by its official spokesperson Abdulaziz Al-Otaibi, succeeded in reducing the temperature of pedestrian paths leading to the Jamarat by 12 to 15 degrees Celsius last year. This year, the effort has been expanded to cover the area around the Namira Mosque, approximately 25,000 square meters.

Saudi Arabia meticulously studies all phases of the Hajj to manage the heat stress experienced by pilgrims. This includes measuring temperatures inside and outside the tents and monitoring wind speeds and humidity levels annually. These efforts, led by the National Center for Meteorology in collaboration with relevant authorities, aim to minimize hospital and health center admissions.

A recent study by the "Research and Innovation Center" at King Faisal Specialist Hospital highlighted the effectiveness of Saudi Arabia's preventive measures in mitigating heat-related health risks for pilgrims.

The study analyzed 40 years of meteorological data and heat stroke and exhaustion rates during the Hajj in Makkah. It confirmed a significant reduction in heat stroke cases by 74.6% and a 47.6% decrease in mortality rates over the past four decades, despite an average temperature increase of 0.4 degrees Celsius every 10 years in Makkah.

The Saudi Ministry of Health recognizes the significant challenge posed by this year's high temperatures, which threaten pilgrims' health. All efforts are made to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the guests of Allah under these harsh climatic conditions.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Ali, the ministry's spokesperson, emphasizes the importance of adhering to health guidelines issued by the ministry. These include carrying umbrellas to avoid direct sunlight, drinking sufficient water, and taking breaks between rituals to reduce fatigue and heat exhaustion.

The scientific efforts employed at the holy sites to reflect sunlight and lower temperatures during the day and night mirror the care taken at the Grand Mosque. There, summer temperatures of the flooring, which can reach 50 degrees Celsius, are managed by importing marble from the Greek island of Thassos. This marble reflects light and heat, maintaining a cool surface due to its five-centimeter thickness, regardless of the high temperatures. This is part of a series of Saudi innovations continually developed to provide the utmost comfort for pilgrims, regardless of the cost.

Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

2024-06-15T15:42:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd