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Civil protection plan for markets

As a commitment to the clients, public markets should launch civil protection programs
Food market in Mexico City – Photo: Yadin Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Despite the invasion of shopping malls, large supermarket chains, and franchised convenience stores, public food markets in Mexico City and the rest of the country are still the usual shopping places for thousands of people, mainly housewives, who purchase in their aisles the food they serve every day at their table, in addition to other items.

Because these are public places, we'd expect them to have civil protection plans but this is not the case. EL UNIVERSAL reports today that only 8 out of the 329 public markets in Mexico City have an internal program to ensure the physical safety of clients and stallholders.

The September 19 earthquake exposed the need for market owners and stallholders to know how to react to an emergency.

A little over three months after the earthquake, market owners from the boroughs of Tláhuac and Xochimilco – two of the boroughs most affected by the earthquake – recognized they lived moments of chaos and confusion because they ignored what to do in case of an earthquake.

Thus far, no one's quite certain who is in charge of civil protection plans. The Ministry of Civil Protection claims plans should be devised by each borough yet authorities in Azcapotzalco and Coyoacán claim it's not their responsibility. Only 3 out of the 16 delegations have reported they're preparing a civil protection training program for stallholders. Milpa Alta is the only borough which has stated that 7 out of its 9 markets have a civil protection program. The rest either claimed they didn't have the information or justified their lack of programs on the high costs they represent.

In order to have access to a civil protection program it's necessary to spend almost MXN$10,500 (USD$530,981); for a small market, it could be too expensive to afford this amount yet several public markets have at least 50 or more stalls, reason why each stallholder would have to pay less.

We should spare no expense in saving lives. As a commitment to the clients public markets receive every day, they should launch these type of programs. And as a sign that they're interested in abiding by the law, boroughs would do well in demanding markets to have a civil protection program. We're making considerable progress on prevention measures, we cannot stop now.


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