International

The Hajj in numbers

MAKKAH: The hajj pilgrimage, which got under way in the Muslim holy places in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings.

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Here are some figures illustrating its scale, according to officials and local media:

– More than 1.4 million pilgrims from abroad are expected to join in excess of 100,000 from inside Saudi Arabia.

– The pilgrims will be transported on 18,000 buses, of which 1,696 are new.

– The Saudi hajj and umrah ministry has mobilised some 60,000 staff.

– 158 sickbays along the pilgrimage routes. 25 hospitals and 5,000 hospital beds available.

– Helicopters, 100 ambulances and 51 medical buses on standby.

– 17,000 emergency services personnel deployed.

– 1.5 million containers of water from Mecca’s Zamzam spring to be distributed to pilgrims when the hajj reaches its climax on Sunday.

– 23,000 cleaners to keep the Mecca area tidy.

– Foreign pilgrims spent almost 20 billion riyals ($5.3 billion) during the hajj in 2015.

– At least 2,297 pilgrims died during the 2015 stampede, according to officials from more than 30 countries. Saudi Arabia never updated an initial toll of 769.

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