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Damage at Mexico City's Central de Abastos after the roofs collapsed. Damage at Mexico City's Central de Abastos after the roofs collapsed.

Hailstorm causes roofs to collapse at Mexico City’s main food market

The hail accumulated until the structures could not support the weight

A sudden spring hailstorm dumped tonnes of ice onto Mexico City on Saturday, causing significant damage at the city’s biggest market.

Accumulated hail caused the roofs to collapse on three sections of Mexico City’s Central de Abastos wholesale food market, which provides the capital with around 80% of its food.

The collapse occurred around 6:00 p.m., and was caught on video by a number of people who had been filming the sudden and intense hailstorm.

“Get out! Get out!” yells one man who caught the entire collapse on video. He can then be seen helping people make their way out of the ruined structure.

Clara Brugada, borough president of Iztapalapa, where the market is located, told the news outlet Telediario that there were no reports of injuries. However, reporters from other media have said that there were at least two people injured.

“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 Martínez, who rents a booth in the market’s fresh flowers section.

He said that upon inspecting the fallen roof, the hail appeared to be different from normal. Instead of frozen precipitation, it looked and felt more like “plastic or balls of water with glue.” The sticky hailstones stacked up on the roof of the market and the weight became too much for the structure to bear.

Flores said that Brugada visited the collapsed market and, after a brief tour of the scene, admitted that she didn’t know what to do. Several market vendors became angry, insulted her and even attacked the two police officers escorting her.

He asked for the help of Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum “or another responsible public servant who really wants to help us, because the losses are in the millions of pesos.”

His lost merchandise and that of other vendors will be recouped through the insurance included in the 220-peso (US-$8.75) rent they pay per square meter of market space.

Another vendor, Juana Hernández, estimated her losses to be around 18,000 pesos (US $716). “But the worst part was the fright from seeing how the roof was coming down on us,” she said.

Mayor Sheinbaum said that the city would conduct an investigation into the collapse and assured vendors that they would receive government support.

Sources: El Universal (sp), Grupo Fórmula (sp)

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