Shifting Numbers and Definitions of 'Missing' After Mudslide

California

Authorities had reported soon after the landslide that 48 people were missing, but that figure ultimately was corrected to eight. The death toll rose on Wednesday afternoon after two more bodies were found.

Crews performed at least 50 rescues to save people trapped in vehicles and buildings.

"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, power lines, wrecked cars, lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes, let alone to get people out of them". "We think somewhere in the debris field".

The upmarket neighbourhood includes homes owned by celebrities like actor Rob Lowe and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres. She was pulled from a collapsed Montecito home where she had been trapped for hours.

"The neighbors out back - their houses are gone, just gone".

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Ms Winfrey said on Instagram that her property sustained only minor damage as she toured the scene. Together with the loss of vegetation, this leads to an increased risk of mudslides and floods.

"First we got burned out at our ranch that caught on fire and now we're flooding, so the last month has been pretty bad", Charles Stoops said as he stood in front of his house, which was surrounded in mud 3 feet (nearly a meter) deep.

Emergency managers say they warned residents days ahead of the storm, including with tweets warning that flash-flooding and debris flows were imminent.

The terrain has been destroyed and debris including fallen trees, boulders and waist-deep mud have made rescue efforts hard.

Whether you live in the area and want to donate your time, or you live across the country, there are many ways you can help in the aftermath of this disaster.

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"It was very stunning to see the extent of the devastation, to see the breadth of the area impacted by this", Brown said.

Communities in Santa Barbara County, like Montecito, located below the burned area, are under siege again as mudslides crushed cars and ripped homes from their foundations this week.

It could include everything from urgent, active missing-persons cases being worked by detectives to calls received from acquaintances saying they hadn't been able to reach someone they believe was in Montecito on Tuesday morning when mudslides swept through town and killed 17 people.

The US Coast Guard has sent "multiple airships to support rescue operations" and warned the public not to fly drones, otherwise the flights would be grounded.

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