On Tuesday, the annual pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Makkah begins, and religious tourists have begun gather in the Saudi city ahead of their pilgrimage, where a hotel fire caused 1000 people to be evacuated.
Firefighters "rescued two pilgrims who were hurt" by the fire in an eighth-floor room of the unnamed hotel, the civil defense agency said, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
The rest of the guests were evacuated until the fire was put out. The cause of the blaze has not been reported yet.
The Kingdom’s religious leaders, hoteliers, restaurants and government has been readying itself for the massive influx of visitors expected each year.
Because of modern crowd-control issues, many of the religious rituals of Hajj have been modified to adapt to the masses of worshipers flooding the city. There have also been a few accidents and unfortunate events due to the influx of visitors.
Last week a crane collapsed in the Makkah’s Grand Mosque, which, at last report from Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defence Authority, had injured 238 pilgrims and killed 107.
A large-scale investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched and safety measures have been reportedly put into place to protect against further incidents.
Many have been concerned about crowd control and health and safety issues in the holy city during Hajj, where an estimated 2,089,053 pilgrims gathered last year.
A similar incident occured this time last year, when three pilgrims were hospitalised due to a hotel fire.
Read Hotelier Middle East's expert tips on how the best in the industry handle a hotel fire.