The government of Saudi Arabia has indicated that it would introduce electronic identification bracelets for all pilgrims travelling to Mecca for this year’s Hajj, as part of a safety drive.
The development is coming against the backdrop of a stampede in 2015 in which more than 750 persons are believed to have died, with 900 injured.
The e-bracelets will contain personal and medical information to help authorities care for and identify people, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Water-resistant and connected to GPS, the devices will also instruct worshippers on timings of prayers and a multi-lingual help desk to guide especially non-Arabic speaking pilgrims around the various rituals of the annual Islamic event.
Nearly 1,000 new surveillance cameras have also been installed.
Also, the ID bracelets will contain crucial information such as passport numbers and addresses but will also offer information to worshippers, such as timings of prayers and a multi-lingual help desk to guide non-Arabic speakers around the event.
Taking part in the pilgrimage at least once in one’s lifetime is a major obligation for all able-bodied Muslims of financial means and between two and three million people participate in the six-day ritual every year.
The annual Muslim pilgrimage re-enacts the actions of the Prophet Muhammad in his “farewell pilgrimage” in AD 632.