Monday, September 28, 2009

500 Indonesians die during exodus

Source: Global Times/AFP

Almost 500 people died on Indonesia's roads as they headed home in a mass exodus to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of Ramadan, an official said Sunday.

"We recorded 1,153 accidents in the period of six days before Eid and three days after it, mostly involving motorcycles," Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told AFP.

"472 people died and 551 others were seriously injured," he added.

"The travelers were on the road for 16 hours on average, and many were tired and in a rush," he said.

Indonesians celebrated the Eid holiday September 20 in one of the world's largest yearly mass migrations.

Masses of people crammed in planes, trains, ferries, buses and overloaded motorcycles and cars as major cities and towns emptied.

Around 90 percent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim, making it the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

At least 548 people were killed on Indonesian roads during last year's exodus, according to figures provided by the Indonesian government.