Too much rain, too fast, and too soon. I can not believe I am sharing another disaster in our community on the heels of the Thomas Fire. On Tuesday January 9th, at around 3:45am, unprecedented heavy rain fell at almost an inch per hour and caused the recently burned mountainside to give way. It sent a torrent of mud, boulders, and debris careening through many parts of Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara. Experts estimate the damage lies over a 30 square mile area. As of this writing, 17 lives have been lost and over 600 homes destroyed or badly damaged. It is overwhelming. Our main artery from North to South, the scenic Highway 101 is closed down in both directions, stranding many.
The historic Montecito Inn has already removed 100 dump trucks full of mud from the first floor and the basement is still 8 feet deep in the sludge. This is the kind of damage that many homes (if they survived) are facing.
Families are suffering the loss of loved ones in this tight knit community. While Montecito is constantly described in the press as a wealthy enclave, it is also a place of quiet beauty and truly wonderful people from many walks of life.
I am not going to share more photos of the devastation. Those can easily be found on social media. Instead, I would like to share ways to help.
Search and rescue dogs have been indispensable in finding people including a 14 year old girl who was buried for hours when her home was swept away. As of now there are 11 of these search and rescue teams combing through the mud and debris searching for the missing. Here is the link for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.
Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara based organization that provides medical relief and aid to people affected by disasters and poverty around the globe. They were an enormous help during the Thomas Fire and will be doing the same amazing work for this disaster. They have donated a rugged ATV vehicle to the first responders in Montecito so that they can navigate through the rough terrain in the search and rescue operations. The link is here: directrelief.org
The United Way Thomas Fire Fund will now include the flood as well. You can donate here: United Way
Thank you in advance for your help and for all of your prayers and messages. Together we will support each other and lift each other up over these coming weeks and months.