Indonesian Red Cross preparing 250,000 ambulances and volunteer medical personnel for Lebaran holiday

Neo dan Roni, part of the the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) medical team in Surakarta that was on call during last year’s Lebaran. Photo: PMI Palembang

While the Idul Fitri holiday is a time of festive celebration with family, the mudik exodus prior to the holiday, involving hundreds of millions of Indonesians traveling to their hometowns, can involve long and often dangerous journeys. In 2016, government data showed that 1,261 people died from road accidents during Lebaran (including 12 who died during the infamous Brexit toll gate incident).

But things seems to be improving. Last year, the government reported that deaths over the same holiday period decreased to 742 and that number will hopefully decrease further still thanks to the charitable work of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), which is assigning thousands of volunteer personnel to remain on-call to man ambulances and help take care of medical emergencies throughout the country over the holidays.

“PMI has approximately 250,000 ambulances all prepared as well as doctors volunteers, nurse volunteers and so on,” said PMI chairman Jusuf Kalla (who also happens to be the vice president of Indonesia) as quoted by Kompas.

Kalla said that PMI was also coordinating with various government ministries and agencies to make sure they were prepared. For instance, although blood donations usually drop during Ramadan, Kalla said they had stocked up to have enough blood supplies to make it through the holidays.

Besides the ambulances, PMI says it has prepared 586 first aid posts and 8,422 volunteers, including doctors and paramedics, who are able to provide first aid to accident victims. To provide faster relief and to access hard-to-reach areas, the organization has also readied mobile first aid services using bicycles and motorcycles.

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