World Economy

Floods Incur $5b Loss to Kashmir’s Famed Carpets

Floods Incur $5b Loss to Kashmir’s Famed CarpetsFloods Incur $5b Loss to Kashmir’s Famed Carpets

Caked with mud and soaked in putrid water, Qazi Mohammad Yahya’s ruined handmade carpets and Pashmina shawls reflect Indian Kashmir’s economic devastation from the region’s worst floods in a century.

As the waters recede and the clean up finally begins, business owners, including those selling Indian Kashmir’s most famous exports, are beginning to count their losses – at least $5 billion by conservative estimates, the Economic Times reported.

“My 35 years of earning is gone,” Yahya said outside his home in the picturesque region’s main city of Srinagar as water-logged carpets collected from one of his showrooms were unloaded from a truck.

“Most of my finest carpets are lying elsewhere in the flooded city,” Yahya said.Kashmir carpets have traditionally been a major earner for the region, whose generations of weavers toil for months on wooden looms to produce single intricate pieces that sell for thousands of dollars in the West.

Scores of carpet showrooms now lie under water after Srinagar’s Dal Lake burst its banks, sending residents fleeing for higher ground. Many of the handlooms have also been destroyed and hundreds of people are out of work.“It may take one year to recover, it may take 50. It depends on Allah,” the 55-year-old Yahya who travels to Europe, Southeast Asia and the US every year to sell his carpets.