Video: Stampede leaves at least 23 dead in Indonesia

updated 9/15/2008 5:00:42 AM ET 2008-09-15T09:00:42

Residents of a town in eastern Indonesia surged forward to receive $4.25 in handouts from a wealthy family, crushing to death 23 people, officials said.

The handouts were part of charity events marking the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan in the town of Pasuran, about 500 miles east of the capital, said local police chief Harry Sitompul.

Television footage showed women screaming as they were pushed into a fence by the crowd outside a home in Pasuran. At least 23 people were killed and at least 8 others were in critical condition, Sitompul said.

Charity events are common during Ramadan, when most of Indonesia's 235 million people fast during daylight hours. However, crowd control is problematic and deaths have occurred at similar events in the past.

"There was no coordination with police during the handout," said Aminurohman, the town's mayor, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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