Economic losses stemming from flooding in the Indian state of Kerala could be as high as $2.87bn, according to initial estimates from the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

In a report put out by the trade body yesterday (19 August), ASSOCHAM pegged economic losses from the flooding – caused by monsoon rainfall – to be between Rs 15,000-20,000 crore ($2.16bn to $2.87bn).

The organisation said the floods – which are the worst in Kerala since 1924 – is expected to impact tourism, agriculture and trade out of the port of Kochi for several months.

“Internal and external trade contribute a lot,” ASSOCHAM said in a statement.

“The external trade not only comprises exports of cash crops and other industrial goods and services from Kerala, but also commercial activities from ports like Kochi and three international ports from the state,” it went on.

“At this point of time, all these components of the state GDP are in a state of total chaos and destruction.”

The organisation said the prolonged nature of the monsoons, which began on 8 August, would “hamper the relief and rehabilitation” of those impacted by the flooding.

“It takes [a] long to rebuild even the basic infrastructure like roads, re-erecting of electric poles, broadband cables, clearing the roads in the mountain region of the mud and landslides,” the organisation said.

The insured loss is expected to be significantly lower because of modest insurance penetration in the region.