Jakarta, 05 Syawal 1437/10 July 2016 (MINA) – Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, on behalf of the government, offered an apology to the people especially over traffic jams at the East Brebes Exit, dubbed “Brexit” by locals and social media users, that led to deaths of several Eid travelers.
“On behalf of the government, I as home affairs minister, offer an apology over the disaster that befell some people during traffic jams in the northern coastal highway section in Brebes,” he said in a statement put in the ministrys website Saturday.
Seventeen people have died of heart attacks and heat exhaustion while stuck in a traffic jam at junction known locally as Brexit. The huge tailback took place in sweltering conditions in the Indonesian capital Java, at the Pejagan-Brebes Toll Exit.
The disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) office of Brebes revealed that they had died during home-bound journeys from June 29 to July 5, 2016, due to traffic accidents, inhaling too much toxic apnea caused by CO2 from the air conditioning system in vehicles caused by long congestion and fatigue.
The government had worked maximally to serve the people during the Eid holidays by expediting the payment process at toll gates and road improvement, the minister said.
The incident would be taken as a lesson for evaluation, he said. “The fatalities and discomfort experienced by travelers during their trips would be used as materials for evaluation by the government, especially the home affairs ministry,” Tjahjo said.
His office had sent a radiogram to a number of district heads of Javas northern coastal areas that were passed by Eid travelers to deploy their personnel including administration police forces, sub-district, village and public service personnel concerned to stand by for 24 hours at the northern coastal highways as well as community healthcare centers to help ensure a smooth journey to the travelers, he said.
The traffic stretched for more than 13 miles (21km) at the junction for Brebes, a town on the main island of Java, as millions of people headed home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
Locals and social media users refer to the toll gate at the intersection as Brexit, short for “Brebes exit”. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)