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12 die in ‘Brexit’ traffic jam

Indonesia roadways packed as millions head home to celebrate the end of Ramadan

Twelve people died while trapped in a three-day Indonesian traffic jam. Congestion was so bad at a toll gate in Brebes, a city on the main island of Java, Indonesians started calling the gridlock Brexit. The name is a combination of “Brebes” and “exit,” but was obviously inspired by the similarly named British exit from the European Union.

The 13-mile-long traffic jam at the Brebes junction was caused by millions of people heading home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr — the religious Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The roads back up every year after fasting concludes, but the chaos at Brexit was particularly dangerous this year as tens of thousands of cars jammed on to the arterial highway, said Hemi Pramuraharjo, a transport ministry spokesman.

“In terms of this ‘Brexit’ case, there’s been a total of 12 victims over different days,” he said. The deaths occurred between July 3 and 5.

Some of the victims were elderly, some died of fatigue or other health complications and a 1-year-old died of fume poisoning.

More than 400 motorists have died on the Indonesian highways this holiday season, which does not come as a surprise to the 144 million people living on Java. The roads are filled with potholes and they are just too crowded to accommodate drivers.

 Hundreds of pictures of the traffic jam are starting to surface on the internet and social media. Aerial shots show people resting on the side of the road, alongside miles of stationary vehicles.

“There is a bottleneck there, where there’s a petrol station very nearby and many people queue,” Pramuraharjo said. “There’s no space on the road. We don’t have a solution.”

Authorities are issuing warnings to present and future travelers there and abroad. Drivers should be aware that the heavy use of air conditioning could also lead to an increase in carbon dioxide levels in cars. Also, take breaks if necessary and consider traveling with food and water if possible.

Read more: Auto Week


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