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Over 3.24 million Umrah visas issued in 2008
Over 3.24 million Umrah visas issued in 2008 MAKKAH, (Arab News): Around 3.24 million Umrah visas were issued by

Saudi embassies across the world this year, according to statistics issued by the Central Haj Committee in Makkah.

The statistics — which cover the period from Feb. 8 until Sept. 5 — show that a total of 3,240,675 visas were issued after the Umrah season began in February. Until Sept. 5, 2,622,408 foreign pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom, of which 2,243,090 pilgrims had left.

Pilgrims who came to the Kingdom by air arrived at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz Airport in 9,939 flights and left on 6,981 flights. Those who came by sea arrived at the Jeddah Islamic Port on 145 ships and left on 277 ships.

Makkah’s hospitals dealt with 394,493 pilgrims who were admitted to several hospitals across the city suffering from serious illnesses; 38,042 of these pilgrims are yet to be discharged.

Official charity institutions distributed 225,954,000 loaves of bread, and the meat of 364,726 goats, 7,462 camels and 3,474 cows. 194,557 liters of Zamzam water were consumed in Makkah alone, while 29,231 liters were consumed in Madinah. Over 45,670,635 cubic meters of normal water were consumed in Makkah over the same period.

The Central Haj Committee’s statistics added that 542,838 cars entered Makkah over the same period and that 543,716 had left the city. There were also 3,984 recorded car accidents.

Municipal authorities removed 313,314 tons of garbage, Makkah police arrested 1,490 beggars and 918 street peddlers, and Passport officials arrested 6,463 violators of visa regulations in the same period.

Meanwhile, the Makkah mayor’s office is currently studying the viability of setting up pedestrian friendly roads to contain the increasing numbers of people hit by cars in the city, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.