12 die in 3-day traffic jam at Indonesian junction called ‘Brexit’

This picture taken on July 2, 2016 shows heavy traffic congestion at a major highway junction in Brebes, a city on the main Indonesian island of Java. © AFP
Twelve people died of heart attacks and heat exhaustion over three days while stuck in a 20km-long traffic jam in Indonesia, as thousands returned from their Eid al-Fitr holidays.

The traffic at the main highway toll junction in Brebes, Java, has been so severe that it earned a name among the locals, which may sound familiar to many westerners: Brexit. This time, though, it’s a mixture of the words ‘Brebes’ and ‘exit’.

Chaotic traffic common across Indonesia towards the end of the holy month of Ramadan as millions of holiday goers leave the cities for villages to celebrate Eid, which was marked on Wednesday.

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The jam at the Brexit junction was particularly bad this year, transport ministry spokesperson Hemi Pramuraharjo told AFP, with families stuck in cars and buses in scorching temperatures over the three days.

“In terms of this Brexit case, there’s been a total of 12 victims over different days,” he said, reporting that the deaths took place between July 3 and July 5.

Udah teler nihh yah... Kena maceeettt 😞😞😞😣😣bucukkk kita.. Panassss 😪😪😪

A photo posted by Megga (@megga_wee) on

The victims, some of whom were elderly, died from fatigue and other health complications, Pramuraharjo added.

Local media reported that one of the fatalities was a toddler who was poisoned by exhaust fumes, according to AFP.

More than 400 motorists died across Indonesia during the holiday season, with the recent Brexit jam adding to the death toll, Pramuraharjo stated.

Akhirnya keluar tol juga😂 #edisijalanjalan

A photo posted by 😃Kevin Zarlis😄 (@kevnz16) on

Traffic accidents are common in the overcrowded roads of Java, which is home to more than half of Indonesia’s population of 255 million people.

Angry and exhausted, motorists posted pictures from the Brexit toll gate on social media, showing the long traffic jam, with some drivers managing to get some respite from their cars.

Perjuangan kena macet masuk tol😩

A photo posted by Putri Brata Wijaya (@putribratawijaya) on

The country’s health ministry denied previous reports that victims from the traffic jam died in a single day and urged people to take necessary precautions for long journeys.

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