Sixteen dead, 24 missing and 300 trapped in California mudslides: Oprah’s $50m estate is among the homes overwhelmed by ‘river of mud’ in upmarket neighborhood where many ignored warnings because of wildfire ‘evacuation fatigue’
Sixteen people are dead, 24 are missing and at least 300 are trapped in mudslides which have torn the wealthy neighborhood of Montecito apart.
The death toll climbed on Tuesday as emergency workers pulled bodies from the river of knee-deep mud and boulders which rained down on homes after a torrent of rain earlier in the week.
Scroll down for videos
The debris was able to rush down on to the community because the hillside vegetation which would have ordinarily impeded it was all stripped during the catastrophic wildfires last month.
Many residents put themselves in danger by not heeding mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders issued while there was still time to escape.
Emergency services attributed the decision to ‘evacuation fatigue’ after last month’s fires which drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.