POLICE in the Brebes regency in the northwest of Central Java have confirmed that as many as 18 people died during a “horror” traffic jam that lasted over 20 hours on Tuesday.
Road users travelling from Jakarta to Tegal on the East Brebes toll road had to endure hours in traffic. Reports varied on the amount of time people waited as traffic came to a standstill, with some saying the jam lasted for 35 hours.
Brebes chief medical officer Sri Gunadi Parwoko said that 12 of the victims died from fatigue, while five died during an accident at a road crossing, and another of undisclosed reasons.
According to Lensa Indonesia, some of those who died from fatigue had congenital diseases made worse from the stress and heat of being stuck in the traffic.
Sri also said that it was difficult to reach those who were suffering, as ambulances and motorbikes were impeded by the slow-moving vehicles and could not locate the victims in time.
SindotrijayaMUDIK – trianeew : Songgom Brebes macet, banyak yg kehabisan bensin. pic.twitter.com/j17iVInUjS
— kirey (@kirey_sajah) July 5, 2016
Many, if not all, of those travelling yesterday were attempting to reach their hometowns in time to celebrate Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.
Severe traffic jams have made travelling through the East Brebes toll road a nightmare on frequent occasions. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday that the government will “hopefully” be able to address the issue within the next two years, reports Tempo.
I've got 30 hours stuck at Brebes.., yeah!
terjemah : macet woi!! [pic] — https://t.co/1CeVjcQ8e1
— Abdurrahman (@Cahnom_Moslem) July 5, 2016
However, Jokowi added that traffic jams at toll gates were to be expected because vehicles must wait in line to pay the toll fee.