The mudslides were first reported on this past Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Southern California. Heavy rains caused rivers of mud and debris to run down from hillsides, creating the mudslides in Santa Barbara County.
As of this writing, there have been 17 known casualties, among which includes at least three children, the youngest being three years of age. In addition, there are at least 28 people who were injured by the storm and 8 people who are presumed missing. According to the Associated Press, Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney gave the following statement:
“At this moment, we are still looking for live victims. The likelihood is increasing that we’ll be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that.”
The mudslides and floodwaters have destroyed around 100 homes, with another 300 residences damaged, within Santa Barbara County. The muddy debris also lead to roads closing.
The mudslides notably occurred weeks after the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire within California, struck the state.
What is the current death toll?
The names of those who lost their lives are as follows:
- Jonathan Benitez, 10
- Kailly Benitez, 3
- Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48
- David Cantin, 49
- Sawyer Corey, 12
- Peter Fleurat, 73
- Josephine Gower, 69
- John McManigal, 61
- Alice Mitchell, 78
- James Mitchell, 89
- Mark Montgomery, 54
- Caroline Montgomery, 22
- Marilyn Ramos, 27
- Rebecca Riskin, 61
- Roy Rohter, 84
- Peerawat Sutthithepn, 6
- Richard Taylor, 67
Social Media Reactions
Many celebrities who have homes in Montecito have discussed the mudslides on social media, giving first-hand accounts of the incident and offering their condolences to those who lost their lives.
What has been done so far to help the victims of the mudslides?
Hundreds of rescue workers had been on the scene even by the following Wednesday. Thanks to these efforts, over 300 people have been rescued from the mudslides by helicopters. Reportedly, over 500 first responders and 10 dogs were on the scene searching for missing people.
According to CNBC Make It, American Red Cross spokesperson Jessica Piffero added that over 50 people have been evacuated to Red Cross shelters; in addition, she also gave the following statement:
“Red Cross volunteers are also providing those impacted with a safe place to stay, hot meals and health services. The organization’s crisis counselors are supporting a family assistance center at a local church, where families wait to hear about their loved ones.”
According to CNBC, the Santa Barbara-based charity, Direct Relief, is providing medicine and medical supplies to the victims of the mudslides. In a statement from the organization’s CEO Thomas Tighes:
“As search and rescue efforts continue, Direct Relief is coordinating its response with the Santa Barbara County Public Health and Emergency Services Departments, as well as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.”
“When separated from medication needed to manage diabetes, hypertension or asthma, a person can fall into medical crisis rapidly, resulting in an emergency room visit or worse. Direct Relief is committed for as long as it takes to help the Santa Barbara and Montecito community recover from these tragic events.”
What can you do to help?
You can call 1-800-RED CROSS or donate right from the Red Cross website, while the South California shelter can be reached at (805) 987-1514. Reportedly, the quickest way to make a donation is to text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
You can also make a donation to the Direct Relief website.