By Husni, IFRC

As Muslims around the world begin to prepare for the Eid Mubarak festivities, road safety concerns, particularly in countries like Indonesia become more critical. This year, as reported by the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation, there is a five percent increase in the number of travellers to Indonesia compared to 2016, bringing an estimated 19 million people as part of the exodus.

To help raise awareness on road safety, the Indonesian Red Cross Society (Palang Merah Indonesia) recently launched a campaign, along with the services, to promote safe travel in Jakarta. In support of this campaign, the Red Cross will mobilise 328 ambulances, one helicopter for rapid response, 529 first aid centres and 7,810 personnel who are medical doctors, first aid volunteers and paramedics. The teams will be mobilised seven days before and after Eid – the peak travel period.

“We will be providing first aid support in some crowded areas such as the bus terminal, train station, ferry harbour and several tourist spots seven days before and after Eid,” explained Ginandjar Kartasasmita, the Indonesian Red Cross Society’s Executive Chairman. “Most of our first aid centres are working with government institutions including the police, the ministry of health, the ministry of transportation and some local agencies.”

This campaign is in line with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) commitment to building road safety in Indonesia. For several years, the IFRC has supported the Red Cross in the enforcement of road safety regulations, along with the development of integrated health services plan that includes first aid, ambulance referral and psychosocial support. This has positioned the National Society as one of the main actors that play a pivotal role in national road safety campaigns.

For this year’s campaign, the Indonesian Red Cross will deploy mobile first aid services in areas with heavy traffic within the Central and East Java regencies, where the vehicle accident rate is reportedly high. The Red Cross will also enable a 24-hour operation at its Blood Transfusion Unit and Emergency Room at one of the Red Cross’ hospital for the patients and travellers.

To support this initiative, Red Cross volunteers are working to disseminate road safety information via stickers, brochures, social media and first aid mobile application. “We encourage travellers to apply helmets correctly, to not use the mobile phone while driving and to take a rest when needed for their own safety,” Kartasasmita added.