A Saudi Gazette story covers the after-action report on the 2012 Haj that focuses on an incident taking place near the train station running between Mecca and Mina and the Plains of Arafat. A stampede of would-be passengers resulted in 36 casualties, half of the minor, and apparently no fatalities. The cause of the stampede is being laid at the feet of Tawafa organizations (Haj guides) who urged ticketless passengers into the station. The report makes several other recommendations to improve the crowd control.

Tawafa bodies to blame for train station stampede
Faleh Al-Dhibyani | Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Independent reports into a stampede that occurred at the Mashair train station in Arafat during Haj have blamed Tawafa establishments for sending pilgrims without tickets to the station.

None of the four reports, submitted by three professional railway corporations and a German expert on traffic, cited a delay or technical malfunction as the cause.

Squatting pilgrims were cited as another important cause for the stampede.

The reports said a large number of pilgrims who were sleeping on the roads between Arafat Station 1 and Arafat Station 3 flocked to the station and it was difficult for the security officers to stop them.

When this huge number of ticket-less pilgrims flocked into the station, pilgrims who had tickets could not get through the gates of Arafat Station 3. They were asked to use the gates on the other side of the station instead and this took a long time, according to the reports.


November:04:2012 - 09:02 | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink
2 Responses to “Improving Haj Infrastructure”
  1. 1
    Jerry M Said:
    November:06:2012 - 10:53 

    There is a blog post by Saad Al Dosari in which he wonders why Saudi Arabia doesn’t get advice from countries who can manage large amounts of train passengers in a single dayhttp://www.aneyeonsaudi.org/2012/10/27/the-trains-of-holy-lands/

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    November:06:2012 - 13:35 

    @Jerry M: Saudi Arabia at Haj is actually the standard bearer when it comes to mass movement of people. Excepting — perhaps — the Kumbh Mela in India, there’s no larger mass of people congregated in one place, moving in unison, in the entire world.

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