The death toll is rising as mudslides continue to ravage southern California.
Twenty people have died as a result of the disaster in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, a community about 90 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says finding anyone alive in the muck at this point would be a “miracle,” even as rescue workers continue searching for survivors this weekend. The eighteenth victim, an 87-year-old man, was found dead in his home on Friday, the Associated Press reported, and 25-year-old Morgan Christine Corey’s body was unearthed Saturday in the mud. Hours later, rescue workers found body number 20: 30 year-old Pinit Sutthithepa, whose son and father-in-law also died in the slides. Sutthithepa’s 2-year old daughter is still missing.
Rescue workers are using search and rescue dogs to help wade through the mud and rocks – which is sometimes thigh-deep or higher – to search homes and cars. The damage from torrential rains was made worse by recent wildfires in the area that charred the earth and scrubbed the land of vegetation, making the ground slicker and the slides more dramatic.
Take a look at what rescue crews are dealing with as they survey the deadly damage:
Cal Fire search and rescue crews used their hands to get free as they trudged through the mud, looking for survivors.
Most people who have evacuated are being told to stay away from their homes for at least two weeks, the Associated Press reported.
Crews are using search-and-rescue dogs to hunt for victims.
But time is running out, as authorities plead for the public’s help locating four people who are still missing.
The 20 victims ranged in age from 3 years old to 89, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office.
Rescue efforts continue this weekend, but officials say finding anyone alive now would be a “miracle.”
More than 100 homes were destroyed, and hundreds more damaged, as mud and water raced down the hillsides.
6,000 people were warned to evacuate before the rains came on Tuesday, according to CNN, but not everyone heeded the warnings.
The rain came a month after the largest California wildfire on record, the Thomas Fire, started raging north of Los Angeles.
“Everybody was so prepared for the fire. Nobody anticipated this,” Montecito resident Jennifer Markham told the Associated Press.
Source: Associated Press
The area is home to some wealthy celebrities like Rob Lowe and Bella Hadid.
Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres also share a fence line there.
“The neighbours out back, their houses are gone, just gone,” Winfrey told DeGeneres on Face Time, according to HuffPost. “It is as devastating as it can be.”
The mud oozed over 30 square miles of land.
In some spots, the mud reached the roofline.
Lawmakers who represented the area sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, pleading for more federal aid.
In the letter, representatives Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley said residents need more help with housing, disaster unemployment and “crisis counseling.”
But as rescue and repair crews continue their work, they said “the full extent of the damage is still unknown.”
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