The Montecito Mudslide


Written By: Natalie Williams and Sara Robinson

Beginning on the 9th of January, a mudslide ravaged the Montecito community harming the people, the land, and the environment. With at least 17 people killed, many people missing and even more injured, these fatal weather induced tragedies were brought on by heavy rains that flooded the recently fire-charred Montecito area. After the deadly fires that swept California in the fall of 2017, the landscape was left barren and susceptible to the roaring rains that swept down the hills, uncovered in vegetation to slow the mudslide. With the mudslides in California that tragically began 2018, we can see how the toll of one natural disaster leads to the next, worsening the effects.

The damage inflicted on the Montecito community will take years to repair. Even more significant and lasting though is the emotional toll this catastrophe has left on the community. Not only was the event itself traumatic, but the aftermath was even more devastating. Reflecting on the mudslide invading his neighborhood, a man accounted that he “had to run for his life.” The mental damage these people will have to recover from is absolutely unbelievable and because of this it is important that we help these people deal with the huge amount of loss they endured, because it is unclear how long the Montecito community will have to deal with the recovery process. The amount of loss these people were forced to endure is truly unfathomable. Families were torn apart instantaneously without any option to gain some sense of closure. Homes were demolished, and with them the memories and mementos these families cherished were taken away from them by the mudslides.

After understanding the magnitude of this tragedy and how it affected so many families for the worse, it is clear that our community is extremely fortunate and should be doing everything possible to give back. How? There are multiple websites that are accepting donations, and after seeing the huge amount of damage, the city of Montecito needs every amount of help they can get in order to repair what has been lost.

 Also, this natural disaster gives us a chance to remember that we are not immune to being affected by tragedy. In Newport Beach, we take our mild weather patterns for granted and put away the thought that we need to be prepared for any circumstance. Though California’s weather is usually not temperamental, this mudslide that began 2018 is proof that this is not true. By being more aware of how to respond to natural disasters, we can be more prepared and less caught off guard when tragedy strikes.