Montecito Mudslide

Emergency Response

In January 2018, a powerful rainstorm washed over the fire-denuded mountains above Montecito, California, causing a deadly debris flow that devastated the community below.

In Brief

The disaster occurred one month after the Thomas fire, which scorched the hills above Montecito and contributed significantly to the debris flow that claimed more than 20 lives and injured dozens more.


In response, Direct Relief provided for immediate use a range of specialized vehicles and equipment needed by emergency responders for search and rescue and to address the heightened risks and changed conditions in the disaster’s aftermath.


Direct Relief also established the 1/9 Victims Fund as mechanism through which $1 million in financial assistance was provided directly to affected residents. 

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