On January 9th, 2018, just as many in Southern California were beginning to lift themselves up again after the series of devastating wildfires, yet another disaster occurred in Montecito. A powerful flow of water and debris carried away vehicles, closed highways, damaged homes, and left an already struggling community at a total loss.
Follow our mission here as our volunteers continue to provide direct, compassionate relief for those impacted. Your support means the world to those who have lost everything after a disaster.
Please join hands with us so that we may set those in need on the path to recovery, and ensure no one gets left behind.
February 1-3, 2018: Distributions and Continued Assessment
Our disaster assessment mission took us to the homes of those affected. The foul water left its mark shockingly high on buildings in its path, destroying over 100 homes, and filling them with feet of thick muck. Heartbroken families led us through rooms with layers upon layers of mud in every crevice. The cleanup will take quite some time, and many things can never be repaired.
We began providing disaster aid promptly at the Santa Barbara Local Assistance Center. From February 1st to the 3rd, we distributed cash cards, blankets, bamboo banks, and instant rice, in addition to cleaning supplies for over 50 families, the financial assistance totaling $26,400.
We hope that our relief can become a soothing balm for the weary spirits of those affected, and that the knowledge that their Tzu Chi family is there for them can provide much-needed strength for the future.
January 27, 2018: Assessment
When the roads were reopened and our relief volunteers were finally able to enter the disaster zones, they sprung to action, beginning assessment promptly.
At least 65 homes and 462 other residences were damaged in Santa Barbara County. Mounds of mud, ruined furniture, and precious memories, lay strewn on the sidewalks. The remnants of cars remained in twisted in heaps, and century-old trees were uprooted by the force.
For those who stayed during the mudslide, the resounding sentiment was one of gratitude that they still had their lives, even if all their worldly possessions were destroyed.
Our mission is ongoing.
January 9th, 2018: Mudslide
The mudslides in Montecito, California, took the lives of at least twenty people as the torrential rains surged down hillsides – the very same hillsides that were scorched only last month by violent wildfires.
Reports state the landslide was so extensive that it changed the elevation in some neighborhoods by as much as six feet. Over 20 million pounds of debris – bud, rocks, metal, plastics – had all but covered Ventura County Fairgrounds.
Roads were closed for days, including sections of US Route 101, which connects Northern and Southern California, making entire areas inaccessible for relief work to properly begin.