Hajj 2017: Pilgrims drenched awaiting flight

Hajj 2017: Pilgrims drenched awaiting flight
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Abubakar Ibrahim |abubakar.ibrahim@myjoyonline.com
Date: 12-08-2017 Time: 07:08:32:pm

Hajj pilgrims at the Tamale Sports Stadium were left at the mercy of heavy rains on Saturday as they waited for their flight to the holy town of Mecca.

The afternoon rain is said to have destroyed the luggage of some pilgrims.

Some of the affected people are calling for an immediate overhaul of the Hajj Board for failing to put structures in place to protect them from the vagaries of the weather.

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Although the second batch of pilgrims to be airlifted were told they will embark on Saturday morning, there was no confirmation from officials so they sat in waiting until the downpour.

Joy News Northern regional correspondent, Hashmin Mohammed explained that although there were tents erected, it was not enough to contain all the people when the heavens opened. 

As a result, he said people left their luggage at the mercy of the rain as they sought cover. 

“The rain has left us very stranded and we were thinking that even though we were told that the Hajj Village was not ready, they would make provisions for such situation since we are in the raining season and anything can happen at any time,”

“The rain has beaten most of us here and some people are now worried about their luggage,” Adramni Karim, one of the pilgrims told Joy News.

According to him, some of the pilgrims who live close to the airport had to go home and change their clothes. 

The reporter said officials of the Hajj Board in Tamale have been tight-lipped and are not saying much with regards to when the next flight will be made available to airlift the pilgrims.

Some officials who wanted to remain anonymous said the Board is using its experience with the flight failure to show up as scheduled to improve the subsequent flights. 

Ghana’s Hajj organization has mostly been characterised with a lot of disorder over the years.

The Hajj Board has been experiencing a déjà vu of scheduled flights not showing up, pilgrims not knowing when they would be airlifted, visa issues for pilgrims as well as some pilgrims being left behind.

At least over 500 pilgrims who were left stranded at the Tamale International Airport on Thursday, after the scheduled flight failed to show up.

The setback came a day after the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumi in the company of Hajj Board leadership, promised to eliminate issues that bedevilled past events.

On Friday evening, Dr Bawumia explained that the technical challenges on the part of flight operators in Saudi Arabia were to blame for the failure to airlift the first batch of 2017 Hajj pilgrims as scheduled.

Hours later, the first batch of 500 pilgrims from Ghana were airlifted to their destination. 

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