Airlifting of pilgrims from Tamale to Madina started on Friday the 11th of August 2017. This was as a result of delay in the airline which was supposed to start airlifting on Friday the 10th of August 2017. Pilgrims were beaming with smiles after the delay was resolved and flight schedules resumed and restructured.
There were daily flights until the 4th day which was on a Monday where 2 flights took off from Tamale to Madina. The first one took off Monday morning at 5;15am followed by second one which took off at 8;30pm.
When flights were rescheduled and resumed, The first flight to take off was a Boing A330 which carried 431 passengers on the first day. Followed by the same flight on the Saturday the 12 of August which took same 431 would-be pilgrims. The 3rd day which was on the Sunday the 13th of August was Jumbo Jet/Boing 747 which took 501 passengers. The same aircraft returned Monday Morning to again airlift another 501 passengers. Later in the evening another aircraft also a boing 747 came and airlifted 485 would-be pilgrims. The final one that took off was on Tuesday which made a stop over at Accra to make a top up of 250 passengers.
This is the first time ever since tamale operations that all would be pilgrims are airlifted to KSA. Again, it was the first time that 2 aircrafts came in just one day to airlift pilgrims from Tamale to Madina. Last year, a minimum of 452 were left behind through no fault of theirs. The said 452 were being airlifted after going through the spelt our verification and modalities put up by the current Hajj Board headed by Hon Sheikh IC Quaye.
In Madina, would-be pilgrims were fed 3 times daily. They have had unlimited access to the Masjid Nabawi(Haarraam) mosques, because their hotels were closer to the mosque. It smoothened their prayers and ibaadas. As they come in badges, same way they are inwardly transported with brand new but standard busses to Makkah after 3 day stay in Madina.
Whiles in Makkah, they are provided with Busses to enable their transportation to Ka’bah to perform Umrah awaiting Arafat. There are identification tags for all pilgrims for easy identification when they get mussing. There are well cultured communications, Da’wah, welfare committee members ready to attend to the needs and demands of pilgrims. Pilgrims are full of praise for the Hajj Board, the Govt for such innovative but VVIP treat offered them.
Accommodation isn’t a problem as decent accommodations is offered them. Water flow through their taps. Learned people of the Arabic Language are a part of the various sub committees which makes communication flow so easily. The environment is syrin which doesn’t make some of them miss home at all.
There are clinics being set up in both Madina and Makkah. Contact numbers of the heads of medical teams are being published for people to alert them in times of emergency. My engagements with some of the pilgrims proved how comfortable they are with the Hajj board and the measures put in place to ensure their comfort.
There would be air conditioned pavilions/tents provided for them in Mina after Arafat enroute to Musdalifa. There shall be food served on them in Mina during Arafat day and Jeddah when they are headed back home.
Filed by: Haruna Eliasu, Deputy Communications Director Ghana’s Hajj Board