To avoid 2015’s stampede like situation, Saudi Arabia has started to issue identification bracelets to this year’s haj pilgrims.
The stampede had killed around 2,300 people and with this new system Saudi Arabia hopes to reassure pilgrims that such situation will not arise again.
The distribution of these bracelets though so far has been far from systematic as hoards of people have turned up ahead of the formal start of the haj on September 10 but not all have been issued these bracelets.
After last year’s stampede, Saudi Arabia had announced an investigation into the matter. Unfortunately, no findings have been published till date.
Though public statements say that changes have been made to prevent overcrowding, till date no one has been blamed for the tragedy.
The stampede was ‘the worst’ ever tragedy in haj history, and many foreign officials had expressed concerns that many dead were not even identified.
While Saudi officials have stuck with a saying that death toll being was 769, foreign data of many countries shows the figure were almost three times the number.
Each of these plasticised paper bracelet has a barcode which is readable via smartphone and will indicate the identity of the pilgrim.
His nationality and place of lodging in Mecca would also be given on the bracelet. These barcodes will also additional data such as details provided when his or her visa was issued and the contact information of the pilgrim’s delegation.
More than 1.4 million pilgrims are expected to visit Mecca this year.