Indonesian traffic jam responsible for a dozen deaths

BREBES, Indonesia, July 9 (UPI) — A dozen people died while waiting in a 13-mile traffic jam in advance of the Eid al-Fitr festival to end a month-long Muslim holiday.

The deaths in Brebes occurred between July 3 and July 5 as millions of people converged around a toll exit. Drivers were headed home to mark the end of Ramadan.

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The gridlock was intensified by roadside vendors and crowded markets. Garbage from stranded motorists adding to the congestion, which has led people to scavenge through the trash for recyclable materials.

Officials say most victims were elderly and succumbed to the temperatures, which were in the high 80s all week. One of the victims, a one year old toddler, was poisoned by exhaust fumes.

“There’s no space on the road,” transport ministry spokesman Hemi Pramuraharjo told the Agence France-Presse news agency. “We don’t have a solution.”

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