Wednesday, May 23, 2018
JEDDAH — Performing Umrah during Ramadan is a strong desire common among people living in Kingdom irrespective of their backgrounds. However, for many low-paid workers in the country planning the pilgrimage is a daunting task because most of them travel to Makkah after work while they have to ensure that they can get back to work the following day.
Such workers are often among the victims of accidents on highways leading to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah due to poor concentration on roads by exhausted drivers. This is in addition to the common occurrence accidents inside the cities where motorists clog roads as they rush home for iftar.
On the second day of Ramadan, 10 Asian farm workers lost their lives on their way back after performing Umrah. Some of their colleagues who were critically injured are still battling for life in hospital.
The workers, hailing from Nepal, India and Bangladesh, worked in a date farm in Madinah. They were on their way back to Madinah in a bus after performing Umrah on the first day of Ramadan. The bus overturned near Madinah on Friday killing nine people on the spot and injuring 19 others, some of them critically. One of the injured succumbed on the way to hospital.
The victims› employer is working to complete legal formalities to repatriate their bodies to their respective home countries.
In another case the following day, a father and son duo were killed in a fatal accident near Riyadh while returning from Makkah after performing Umrah. They were identified as Indian nationals working in a cafeteria.
Ironically, injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents peak in the Kingdom in the holy month of Ramadan.
The Ramadan-specific lifestyle has physical effects on human body, especially when the fasting coincides with the hot summer weather. Dehydration and low blood sugar level for some people during fasting can affect motorists› attentiveness, concentration, vision and reaction.
In addition to fasting, the often unusual and irregular meal timings and sleep patterns can cause fatigue, exhaustion, impatience and distraction, according to medical experts.