Disasters & Accidents

Volcanic activity deals second blow to central Mexican businesses

Atlixco, Mexico, May 24 (EFE).- The fiery activity of central Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano has dealt a second blow after the pandemic for shops and businesses in Puebla state, one of those most affected by ash fall.

For a week, the volcano’s activity has increased, and due to this the merchants of the Puebla municipality of Atlixco said Wednesday they are experiencing a kind of second pandemic due to the deserted streets in the town.

During a tour carried out by EFE, the merchants, especially in the food industry, agreed that sales have fallen 50-70 percent as “very few customers enter the businesses.”

The volcano’s activity has also prompted business owners to install transparent plastic curtains to protect their products from falling ash, so that consumers feel confident when purchasing food or products such as clothing, handicrafts and basic items.

EFE was able to verify that the people in the streets of Atlixco are mostly locals and few tourists.

Lucero Márquez, owner of a cafeteria, said her sales have dropped 70 percent since Sunday, when the strongest ash fall occurred, adding that her sales had already been falling for three weeks, but now the situation is unsustainable.

“The first and biggest battle is against the ash because with any gust of wind everything fills with ash and you have to be constantly cleaning. The other and biggest as a business is low sales – we feel again as if we were in a pandemic,” she said.

She said that people are not leaving their homes and therefore do not purchase.

“Whether it is morning, afternoon or night, the streets are deserted and we better close because we know that customers will no longer enter.”

Josue Ramírez, owner of a dessert and prepared drinks business, said his sales have dropped by at least 50 percent on weekends, while from Monday to Friday he has almost no customers due to the fact that the consumption of his products is at outdoor tables and now people are looking for places to take refuge.

“Small businesses that depend only on the tables that we have outside our premises do not have sales due to the effects caused by the ash. There are restaurants that have their spaces set up outside but really serve their customers inside. It has affected all of us too much,” he said.

Antonio Villa, a tourist from the city of Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, shared that his holiday has been ruined by the ash since they arrived in the municipality of Atlixco over the weekend and on Sunday when the largest amount of ash fell. They were not able to go out or do any activities.In addition, he said he was “scared since there is little information on what to do in an emergency.”

“We are concerned about the fact that the volcano is going to erupt and we have to return because we don’t know how to act in such a situation, because there is no clear information,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Mexican army completed a day of work to try to mitigate the ash fall and thus help the population of the communities surrounding the Popocatépetl volcano.

One of the most affected has been the community of Santiago Xalinzintla, in the municipality of San Nicolás de los Ranchos, the closest to the volcano’s crater, just 12 kilometers away.

During the last week, the volcano has ejected incandescent material, steam and ash, which has reached the municipalities of the states of Puebla, Hidalgo and Mexico, in the center of the country.

The Mexican authorities have analyzed the activity of Popocatépetl on a daily basis since its current eruptive phase began in 1994. EFE


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