In October of this year, millions of people will take part in a yearly pilgrimage to the Iraqi city of Karbala for Arbaeen, which takes place on 19 October. Often referred to as the “Arbaeen Trek” it is one of the best trekking poles, the distinctively Shia pilgrimage is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world with millions making the journey towards the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS).
Among the millions of participants, last year saw participation from 2 million Iranians alone, and this year that number is expected to rise to 3 million despite security warnings from the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Ahead of the event, a ton of medicine and medical supplies are being dispatched by The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS). Iraq Scientific Bureau is reporting the latest developments regarding medical supplies and potential for security warnings.
Iraq Scientific Bureau: Anticipated medical support from Iran
Mohammad Taqi Hellisaz, head of the Iranian Medical Center for Hajj and Pilgrimage, asserted in September that Iran will send 160 tons of medicine and medical supplies to Iraq in support of those taking part in the pilgrimage. Included in this equipment will be 40 ambulances and 8 ambulance buses, along with 1,700 medical staff. The medical staff will include 350 general practitioners along with 100 specialists. Some sources report that this will include cardiologists, gynecologists, neurologists, orthopedists, and psychiatrists.
The medical services will come together as a unified medical force, taking shape as mobile health units and medical clinics dispersed in several areas but operating under one communication network.
In terms of where these mobile units and clinics will be located, Hellisaz has asserted that they will be available for people traveling along the roads leading to Karbala. There will also be access points located in the city of Karbala as well as in other cities; including Najaf, Samarra, Kadhimiya and Kut.
Potential for security threat
As one of the largest religious pilgrimages in the world, those planning to make their way to Karbala are advised by The Foreign Ministry of Iran to be cautious and aware of political and security warnings.
The full statement, issued on 3 October, is as follows:
“the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its regret over the emergence of some sporadic unrests in some Iraqi cities and is confident that Iraqi government and nation will cooperate with all groups, parties and personalities especially sources of religious emulation as well as other political-religious leaders for pacifying the current inflammatory situation.
“While emphasizing on the significance of great Arbaeen march, Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on all pious Iranian people and lovers of Ahl al-Bayt to delay their trip to Iraq until normalization of situation in that country and take all warnings of political and security officials into serious consideration.”
What else can those traveling expect over the coming weeks?
It is prudent to always remain cautious and aware of any security threats issued by trustworthy sources, however, those making the trek can find comfort in the additional support and supplies from The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS). Iraq Scientific Bureau will continue to monitor any new developments and update as necessary.