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Californians who fled mudslides to start returning home

Residents displaced by the mudslides that devastated a Southern California community will hopefully be able to return home by the end of the month – provided that utilities can be restored by then, authorities said Sunday.

Officials said it will be a gradual process getting residents back into homes in Montecito, where at least 21 people were killed during flash floods on January 9.

A 17-year-old boy and two-year-old girl remain missing in the wreckage.

The coastal town’s narrow streets are clogged with bulldozers and utility trucks as crews remove mud and boulders and rebuild drainage pipes and power lines.

 Residents displaced by the mudslides that devastated a Southern California community will finally be able to return home by the end of the month – provided that utilities can be restored by then, authorities said Sunday. A home hit by the disaster is pictured January 10

 Officials said it will be a gradual process getting residents back into homes in Montecito, where at least 21 people were killed during flash floods on January 9. Pictured is US Highway 101 on Monday, which has been closed for two weeks 

 Officials said it will be a gradual process getting residents back into homes in Montecito, where at least 21 people were killed during flash floods on January 9. Pictured is US Highway 101 on Monday, which has been closed for two weeks 

Robert Lewin, director of Santa Barbara County’s office of emergency management, said it may be into February before natural gas service is restored to the area.

A major highway reopened Sunday after a nearly two-week closure caused by the mudslides.

Governor Jerry Brown declared Monday a Day of Remembrance of the Montecito Mudslides and ordered flags flown at half-staff over the state Capitol.

He said it was California’s deadliest flooding event in recent memory.

‘As we remember those we lost in this disaster, we should also remember the injured, the missing and the survivors who may need our help in rebuilding their lives,’ his proclamation said.

Governor Jerry Brown declared Monday a Day of Remembrance of the Montecito Mudslides and ordered flags flown at half-staff over the state Capitol. Partially cleaned-up Montecito is pictured Monday

Governor Jerry Brown declared Monday a Day of Remembrance of the Montecito Mudslides and ordered flags flown at half-staff over the state Capitol. Partially cleaned-up Montecito is pictured Monday

The coastal town's narrow streets are clogged with bulldozers and utility trucks as crews remove mud and boulders and rebuild drainage pipes and power lines. Pictured is the debris at least a week after the disaster, as seen on Oprah's Instagram story

The coastal town’s narrow streets are clogged with bulldozers and utility trucks as crews remove mud and boulders and rebuild drainage pipes and power lines. Pictured is the debris at least a week after the disaster, as seen on Oprah’s Instagram story

Director of the Santa Barbara County Emergency Management Office, Rob Lewin, said in a statement that clearing the debris and blocked drainage channels are of main concern last week.

‘We have got to get those basins cleared as fast as we can,’ Lewin said in the statement.

‘If we don’t get those debris basins cleared out, then we’re not going to be prepared for the next storm, and we don’t know what that storm is going to look like.’  

The disaster struck just after heavy rains drenched the area near Montecito, where vegetation had been stripped bare by the largest wildfire in California’s history.

Rain-soaked hillsides gave way, unleashing a sudden, violent stream of mud, water, uprooted trees and boulders onto the valley below and killing victims, now know to be ages 3 to 89.

The destruction covered 30 square miles, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Officials ordered residents in most of the southeastern corner of Montecito, which is east of Santa Barbara, to leave their homes for what was likely to be 1-2 weeks.

A young mother asleep with her 3-year-old daughter as her 10-year-old nephew slumbered nearby were among those killed.

Other victims included a 22-year-old woman who died in the arms of her brother as he frantically tried to save her after their father was swept to his death by the fast-moving river of mud. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Before and after: These photo compilations show damage around Montecito just after the disaster struck January 9, and then again on Monday January 22 as crews work hard to clean it up 

 Before and after: These photo compilations show damage around Montecito just after the disaster struck January 9, and then again on Monday January 22 as crews work hard to clean it up 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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