Death toll in California mudslides rises to 17: Sheriff

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The 30 members from Marin County Urban Search and Rescue, made up of Marin firefighters, engineers and other county personnel, arrived Thursday morning in the area devastated by deadly mudslides.

At least 17 people are dead, including a 3-year-old girl, after mudslides tore through Southern California Tuesday, upending homes and tearing families apart.

"I work in L.A. but I consider Montecito my home", she said.

But Monroe said it was stressful after evacuating three times during the wildfire to be packing up a fourth time and looking at spending up to $3,000 a week for a hotel. Some remained in hotels and family guest rooms or on friends' sofas for more than a week, feeling like holiday burdens or worrying about unexpected housing bills.

"He's been coming here since before I started working here", said Cantin's barber, Tim Sanchez, who owns the shop.

"She was in the house and was swept away", said Renee Grub, a friend of Riskin.

Images taken before and after the mudslides in Montecito, California, show the extent of the destruction. Meanwhile, beaches were closed to swimming, after health officials said mud and runoff from heavy rains contained unknown amounts of sewage and contaminants.

Remarkable footage shows Marco Farrell standing outside his Montecito home on Tuesday as a combination of mud, water and debris cascades down the road.

Santa Barbara County officials said on Friday that five people are missing, adding that the list is constantly fluctuating.

Brown expanded what was known as the exclusion zone to incorporate most of the town.

The evacuation order came as authorities announced a spike in the number of residents still unaccounted for.

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Sarah Ettman lives in the same neighbourhood and is frustrated with the public's criticism of people who didn't evacuate. "It's martial law here, basically".

Helicopters were used to hoist more than 50 people to safety from roofs, where they scrambled to escape the mud or because debris had blocked roads and left them stranded.

The search for victims of the disaster has carried on in Montecito, where crews are labouring to fix power, water and gas lines as well as clean up massive debris.

The cause of Mr Bleckel's death wasn't announced, but all other victims died from multiple traumatic injuries due to a flash flood and mudslides.

The seven missing people included Fabiola Benitez, the mother of Jonathan Benitez, a 10-year-old killed in the flooding.

Many celebrities who have homes in Montecito have discussed the mudslides on social media, giving first-hand accounts of the incident and offering their condolences to those who lost their lives.

People in Montecito had counted themselves lucky last month after the biggest wildfire in California history spared the town. "Your prayers and best wishes are most appreciated".

Jennifer Ramos says Marilyn Ramos shared the home with her husband, Antonio Benitez, and the family of his brother, Victor Benitez.

Gas and electricity supplies were expected to be cut off in the area on Saturday.

Water, mud and debris continue to move, hampering Caltrans progress in clearing U.S. 101. "You can't even fathom what these poor patients went through to finally make their way to the emergency department".

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