Crowd management in the Hajj Pilgrimage


Crowd management in the Hajj Pilgrimage

A risk is a potential future harm that can happen to an asset, people or arise from the present actions. A risk is always regarded to be a loss, and it can occur in many ways, such as lose of property, life, future of the business and the credibility of the establishment. To minimize the probability of a risk happening there has to be policies and activities to do, all this form part of the risk management system. Risk management is made up of two stages; they are risk assessment and risk control.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment involves identifying risks, analyzing risks and prioritization of the risk whereas the risk control involves taking measures to minimize the occurrence of the risk through planning, mitigation and monitoring the events to reduce the occurrence of a risk.  (Bolia, 2009). The management looks into all the risks systematically to determine the most common risk to occur as a result o0f the hajj pilgrimage before they become problems. To risk, there must be understanding of the current environment. There are factors to consider when identifying risks; they include; population, the size of the structure, the organization, management and the estimations. Risks can be categorized as generic risks and product-specific risk; which are further sub-divided into project risk, product risks, and business risk.  There are models used to assess risks; they are; ALARP, risk mode, fault tree and the bow tie risk assessment.

The ALARP, which stands for “as low as reasonably achievable”. It’s mainly principled on the fact that the risk expected should be as low as possible; this means that the cost of reducing a risk should be lower than the benefit realized from the benefit gained. To determine the level of tolerance that a risk is one must consider healt6h and the safety guidelines as the main factors of assessing the risk. ALARP does not only rely on the cost of reducing a risk but also the sacrifice that one make to enjoy the benefits of the risk reduction.

A risk is only considered safe only if it doesn’t put to risk the health of a person. The risks on the ALARP model is in a triangle presentation to show the tolerance and the amount of risk involved. The fewer risks and tolerable are at the bottom of the triangle with the riskiest and intolerable on top of the triangle. These risks involve health risk such as contaminating diseases when on the pilgrimage. The model demonstrates both qualitative and quantitative properties.

The risk model is that a business might face due to using models to make decisions, the risk model shows the probabilities of the risk happening. Risk model happens as a result of not three errors made; they include instances where there was a wrong application of the model, the figures used in the evaluation were incorrect and that the findings are not correct and as a result of calibration errors. The risk model is used to rank the risk according to the priorities.

The fault tree model analysis is used to analyze the undesired risk by identity ways in which risk can be reduced to determine low risks and failures. The fault tree analysis extensively is based on the level of severity of the risk. This fault tree enables a business to prioritize the risk that will result to a fatal consequence and helping in listing most dangerous risks in an event. This model enables the understanding of the risk evasion system, a risk once prioritized all the problems that may result to the risk are analyzed and computing the probability of the risk occurring after eliminating the problems. After getting the alternatives and plotting the fault tree then alternatives that may directly or indirectly result to another risk are determined. The point of using a fault tree model is to eliminate one risk; all problems are eliminated to reduce the probability of the risk ever occurring. The main risks that the pilgrims that the pilgrims that visit Saudi Arabia would be faced with are; attack be terrorist, collapse of the building due to congestion, stampede  in case of panic, heath infections due to the communicable diseases, suffocation due to congestion with limited air supply. Lose of personal property to thieves and other immoral people, getting lost within the pilgrimage and harsh weather conditions.



The planning stage will involve gathering information about the visiting pilgrims from the travel report and background information to allow us to think ahead and to enable risk assessment. The plan will determine the time to develop and modify the current precautions to fit the changes in risks, such as the gradual increase in the number of pilgrims per Planning is always done at an early stage, and it will always ensure success and low risk from an event. A proper planning guarantees the safety of an event and for this, there must be sufficient time to gather concrete information and consult. In this case, the safe running of the pilgrimage is the priority of Saudi Arabia. Accessing the expected turnout involves forecasting the expected number of visitors. For a clear estimate, the authority can study statistics from previous attendances, the level of publicity, the advance ticket sales and bookings, and extra visitors attending special attraction site at the same (Xie et al., 2006).  The accessibility of the ritual sites involves the safe entry and exit of people



For the ritual to take place safely, there have to be a good means off exchanging information within to avoid confusion, getting lost and misunderstanding of information. Communication will determine a person’s knowledge and experiences. Individuals who are not familiar with the event will need more assistance compared to someone who is acquainted with Mecca. Unaware visitors will take more time evacuating a building because they will always reside to use the primary ways that are familiar to them this eventually leads to stampedes (Xie et al., 2006). To reduce people getting lost the authority will have to devise a means of enabling the pilgrims to have a map of Mecca on their devices and having buildings labeled to ease identification (Bolia, 2009).

The primary use of communication will be to provide information before and during the Hajj event, contact with the pilgrims in case of an emergency notification, additional information or guidelines. For this reasons the authorities should aim at setting up an agency with specific policies that will operate within procedures with regards to the personal use of electronic devices and social media owned by the pilgrims, this is mainly aimed at operational security (Still, 2014).

Good surveillance and monitoring

These will involve arrangements to detect and deal with any potential problem, and the authority will be able to deal with it at an earlier stage. The surveillance can be done using closed circuit televisions (CCTV) and cameras that can be deployed to monitor movements at the agency. The delays in monitoring lead to panics and these panics are majorly the cause of stampede in full events like this. There should be personal and electronic surveillance of the pilgrim at the Jamarat Bridge heading to the three pillars. Monitoring also involves relay of gathered information, so the authorities must ensure that the information can be communicated and received with accuracy for quality interpretation.

Monitoring the pilgrims will also involve timing, to determine the time taken to develop into a dangerous level risk and this may differ based on the crowd as some areas will be prone to risks such as the Jamarat Bridge, Mecca, and the three pillars and others will have low-risk levels. Monitoring is not only directed towards the people but also on the buildings, surveillance on the structures, the temporary tents, and the air conditioning and coolants will help prevent previous occurrences such as tent fire that has occurred twice over the decade (Xie et al., 2006).

Emergency planning procedures

Emergencies may include fires, a collapse of structures, hostile weather conditions, and panic. The main reason for crowd management is so that there is no disorder and overcrowding which the main factors are causing emergencies.  Evacuation via the routes that people are familiar with, assistance will be provided for the individuals with disabilities, adults with younger children. There will be the need to have barriers and signs written in different languages to ensure maximum communication (Still, 2014).





Bolia, N. B. (2009). Risk management strategies to avoid a stampede at mass gatherings.


Merad, D., Iguernaissi, R., Aziz, K. E., Fertil, B., & Drap, P. (2016). Tracking multiple persons under partial and global occlusions: application to customers’ behavior analysis. Pattern Recognition Letters.

Still, K. G. (2014). Crowd Risk Analysis

XIE, Z. H., SUN, C., & YANG, L. (2006). Crowd Risk Analysis and Regulation for Large-Scale Event [J]. China Public Security (Academy Edition), 4, 008.



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