Direct Relief

Devastating Mudslides Rip Through Fire-Impacted California Communities

Devastation is evident throughout the Montecito area after last week’s mudslides. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

Powerful rains washed over fire-denuded hillsides eight days ago, creating deadly and devastating flooding for communities across Southern California.

First responders are working in the community of Montecito, where at least 20 people have been reported dead and more than 25 injured as a result of the flooding and debris flow that swept through in the early morning hours. More than 50 rescues have also been conducted in the hours since the floodwaters rose.

Rescue workers in Montecito on Jan. 11, 2018, following deadly mudslides. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

The community is interspersed below and among hills that were badly burned in the Thomas Fire, and many of the residents in homes impacted by Tuesday’s flooding had been previously evacuated due to proximity to the blaze.

Much of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, both heavily impacted by the Thomas Fire, are at risk for further flooding and mudflows.

Direct Relief is based in Santa Barbara and has staff on the ground, mobilizing support to respond to the developing situation.

Many people have been evacuated from their homes as a result of the flooding. Evacuations often leave people with chronic conditions vulnerable when medicines are not brought along. Without extra medication to manage diabetes, hypertension or asthma, a person can fall into medical crisis, forcing an emergency room visit or worse.

Direct Relief is coordinating with  medical needs and is communicating with Santa Barbara County Public Health and Emergency Services Departments, as well as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to coordinate its response.

Further Reading


Direct Relief Donates Rugged ATVS, Rescue Gear to First Responders in Montecito

As search and rescue efforts continue throughout Montecito after this week’s devastating mudslide, Direct Relief is supplying first responders with specialized tools. On Friday, Direct Relief purchased water rescue gear for Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, including an inflatable kayak, fins and gloves.

In Aftermath of Deadly Mudslides, Direct Relief and Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics Offer Free Tetanus Vaccines to Responders, Cleanup Workers, and Residents

Direct Relief and the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, in coordination with the Santa Barbara Department of Public Health, will offer tetanus (Tdap) vaccinations free-of-charge to individuals exposed to flood water and debris following the tragic mudslide in Montecito. Tdap is a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) – three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases.