Travel Alert – Saudi Arabia – Annual Hajj…

Drum Cussac has issued this latest warning for U.S. Citizens traveling in the country of Saudi Arabia.  This information is brought to you by Cigna Global …

Travel Warning Issued for Saudi Arabia

Government Warning Issued for Mecca

Category: Natural Disasters

Severity: 3 (Moderate)

Source: Drum Cussac

08/28/2014 (Saudi Arabia) – As millions make their way to Mecca for the annual hajj, airports and ports are likely to see increased activity over the next month, according to media reports on Thursday, 28 August. The Mecca Chamber of Commerce said that 1.98 million pilgrims are expected to travel to the holy city of Mecca, including 1.38 million from abroad, between 1 and 6 October. Some 20 flights arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Wednesday, with another 27 flights are expected on Thursday.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation warned that the number of hajj flights will be increasing until they reach climax, totalling 144 daily. Last year immigration delays of at least two hours were reported at Al-Bathaa port, the King Fahad Causeway and Al-Khafji port. In the past, demonstrations, stampedes and fires have marred the pilgrimage. Over the past decade, the government has spent billions of US dollars improving security and infrastructure to enhance crowd control measures. This year special teams will be present at land, air and sea entry points to identify any individuals suffering from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or Ebola. The government has suspended hajj visas for travellers coming from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone following an Ebola outbreak in those countries. Any pilgrim suspected to be infected will be quarantined and treated.

Personnel are advised that the Hajj season may present disruption to travel at points of entry into Saudi Arabia due to elevated security and crowd control measures, including long lines at passport control and customs. It should also be noted that extreme traffic build-up and disordered traffic flow contributes to the overland travel risk during this period. Communicable diseases are a health concern during hajj and travellers need to take precautions, such as washing one’s hands frequently and avoiding people suffering from acute respiratory infections, especially while in confined spaces.

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