The arrival of Covid-19 in Mexico has triggered panic buying and looting but not all Mexicans can get their hands on the essentials they would need to ride out a quarantine to contain the spread of the disease.
Among those who are worried about having enough food and other supplies to survive a lockdown are residents of working-class neighborhoods in the northern city of Hermosillo, Sonora.
“I’m not prepared,” Claudia Camarena, a 32-year-old mother of six, told the newspaper El Universal in the neighborhood of Luis Donaldo Colosio.
Even though her husband works one job in construction and another as a gas station security guard, Camarena said that the only way her family would be able to stock up enough for an extended quarantine would be to borrow money.
She also said that her family would struggle to survive if her husband were to stop working or if he lost one of his two jobs. Camarena added that the main sustenance for her children – aged 1 to 12 – is nothing more than beans.
Rita Aurelia García, a 43-year-old resident of the same neighborhood, is in a similar situation.
“I don’t even know what I’m going to eat today — beans, I think,” she told El Universal.
“People are buying everything but there’s no money here. My husband goes to a tortilla shop and sells them in the street. He does it all day and only when he arrives, almost at night, can we buy what we’re going to eat,” García said.
“We can’t buy food to store like … a lot of people do. There are five of us here. One of my sons went away to work and one of my daughters got married but there are [still] five of us living here. … We struggle to eat, so we’re afraid [of a quarantine]” she added.
In the nearby neighborhood of El Chaparral, a 68-year-old woman identified only as Victoria spoke to El Universal after picking up a free 1-kilo bag of beans from the Salvation Army.
“Rich people can buy [as much as they need but] we don’t have anything, not even to get through the day,” she said.
Despite her age, Doña Victoria said that she doesn’t receive a government pension and that she and her husband try to get by on his social security benefits alone, although their children sometimes give them 100 pesos (US $4).
She said that she and her husband barely go out for fear of being infected with Covid-19, which had sickened 367 people in Mexico as of Monday and killed four.
“They say that there are one or two cases here in Sonora [there are now five confirmed cases in the state] … and that it’s dangerous. As the Bible says, ‘Worse things are coming.’”
Source: El Universal (sp)