Deadly Mudslides in Southern California

[Content Note: Death; floods; wildfires.]

At least 15 people have been killed and dozen have been injured by mudslides along coastal hills in Southern California. Rescuers, which include crews from the Coast Guard and National Guard, expect that number to grow.

The mudslides have been unusually devastating because wildfires, exacerbated by climate change, have left the slopes "barren and unable to hold onto tons of soil and rocks dislodged by downpours." Fucking hell.
"The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [like] was it looked like a World War I battlefield," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere."

The number of dead rose Wednesday to 15, said Amber Anderson, spokeswoman with the Santa Barbara County Incident Management Team. All bodies were recovered near Montecito, a coastal community north of Los Angeles, where mudflows carried houses off their foundations and rose waist-high. A storm of mud descended on the town with no warning, officials said, surrounding houses and carrying a washing machine down one block.

...A Santa Barbara County fire official, who declined to provide his name because he did not have authorization to speak with reporters, described a scene out of a disaster movie.

"Inside the debris we're finding bodies," he said.

"This whole mountain has been burned, and anytime water hits it's not shedding into any bushes because they're all burned. Any water that hits the surface is coming at us and causing debris and mud to flow," he said. "This is just the first storm. It's probably going to happen again and again."
Naturally, many homeowners will want to leave the area, but, unless the federal government provides for a relocation program, it's unlikely they'll be able to sell their homes, even if they remain in good condition, because who's going to buy them? And renters are in need of guaranteed affordable housing elsewhere, plus the moving costs they may not have following multiple evacuations.
Barbara Hill, 68, who said her house is right next to the affected areas, said the region's summers have become hotter and the droughts more severe.

"You know what they call the four seasons here?" she said. "Earthquake, drought, fire, and flood. We went quickly from fire to flood."

...Elizabeth Terry, who lives in a boardinghouse in Los Angeles, said it was her third evacuation since 2016, having been forced from her home by wildfires previously.

Huddled in an white blanket at a Red Cross evacuation center in the Sun Valley neighborhood, she said she's "had more than enough" of the natural disasters and wants to move, but she can't afford to.

"I've been trying now for over a year," said Terry, 63.

My condolences to those who have lost family, friends, or neighbors in the mudslides, and my sympathies to those who are still waiting to hear about loved ones, or who are themselves awaiting rescue. I am so sorry.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to share ways to help in comments. And, as always, let's keep this an image-free thread. Thanks.

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