Intense hailstorm hits Mexico’s capital, destroying its main food market


A sudden, heavy spring hailstorm pounded Mexico's capital on Saturday, March 21, 2020, resulting in the collapse of the Central de Abasto wholesale food market that trapped six people and injured five. The main market, located in the Iztapalapa municipality, provides the capital with about 80 percent of its food supply.

The building crumbled around 00:17 UTC (18:17 LT) and the event was captured on video. Around 200 stores were affected.

In the terrifying footage, the roofs on three sections of the market were seen slowly collapsing due to accumulated hail. One man was heard calling people to get out as they run away.

Secretary of civil protection Myriam Urzua confirmed that five people suffered injuries– three of which were minor. Two sustained back injuries due to falling debris.

Six people were trapped but were rescued by firefighters and civil protection personnel.

"I heard a loud crash, [and] when I saw that the structure that supported the roof was beginning to bend, I ran with my family to get away," said Gonzalo Flores Martinez, an owner of a booth in the fresh flowers section.

Martinez added that after assessments, the hailstones reportedly looked unusual– instead of having a frozen and solid appearance, the hail looked like "balls of water with glue." This caused the hail to stick onto each other while stacking up on the roof until the pillars could no longer carry the weight.

Clara Brugada, borough president of the municipality, visited and checked the damage in the market. However, her lack of solution drew the ire of several market vendors.

Martinez, in turn, appealed help from Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who assured that there will be an investigation and that vendors will receive support from the government.

The cost of losses will be redeemed as well via insurance included in the rent. The market provides about 80 percent of the capital city's food necessities.

Featured image credit: @El_Universal_Mx/Twitter


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