Devastating Mudslide in Oprah’s Neighbourhood. Sixteen Dead
Sixteen people have been declared dead and twenty-four missing in the mudslide that occurred in California earlier this week.
The devastating mudslide occurred in Montecito which is home to many famous names.
Some of those celebrities include Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Connors.
Winfrey’s home survived the storms, but she shared videos of knee-deep mud in her yard and rescue missions.
Former tennis star Connors was also safe after he told his Twitter followers that he had to be evacuated from his home by helicopter.
Helicopters have been used to rescue more than fifty people who were trapped in their homes and on rooftops.
Nevertheless, there are still over three hundred people from the community of Romero Canyon who are trapped.
According to authorities, residents had been warned about the possibility of mudslides but a huge percentage ignored the warning.
Authorities attribute this lackadaisical attitude to ‘evacuation fatigue’ with many refusing to evacuate especially after the wildfire evacuations.
The death toll climbed on Wednesday as emergency workers pulled bodies from a river of knee-deep mud and boulders.
According to authorities the mud and boulders were able to rush down on to the community due to an absence of vegetation.
Normally, the vegetation would have impeded the mud but it had been stripped to the bare minimum during the catastrophic wildfires last month.
Celebrities were also not exempt from the damage that rocked the community
Oprah Winfrey’s $50million home survived the damage and she was not home for the worst of it but she visited the site on Tuesday to share her shock and grief.
She posted a video of her home in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
Standing in knee-deep mud and debris, she said a fence had been knocked down and that she was ‘devastated’ over the damage to her neighbor’s house.
Authorities are also working feverishly on an evacuation plan to rescue 300 people trapped in the impassable hillsides of Romero Canyon.
Emergency cellphone alerts were sent out but officials say that they weren’t sent until the flood began.
The message, similar to an Amber Alert, was sent out at 3.50am, but it is not clear how many people got it.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said on Wednesday that his officers still did not know how many were trapped.
He told CBS,
‘We don’t know how many people are still trapped. We know there are some, we’re still making our way into certain areas of Montecito and the adjacent areas to determine if anyone is still there and still alive’.
Some of the victims of the mudslide have been identified.
Among the missing are sisters Morgan Corey, 25, and Sawyer Corey, 12, who were asleep in their home when the mudslides hit.
A teenager named Lauren Cantin who was rescued after firefighters heard her screams lost her father.
Sheriff Brown confirmed on Wednesday that there were some who chose to stay behind despite warnings.
‘There were some people who did refuse to evacuate and chose to stay in their homes, but there were many that did evacuate and they were safe because of that’.
About seven thousand residents were given mandatory evacuation notices while another 23,000 were given voluntary evacuation notices although many chose to remain.