||| Marcio Jose Sanchez |||
Earlier this week, The Goldwater reported on the rising death toll from the California mudslide. Now, the natural disaster has claimed even more lives with the death toll rising to 19.
Morgan Christine Corey, 25, was found dead in mud and debris in Montecito. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Corey's 12-year-old sister was also found dead. "We ask that you keep this devastated family in your thoughts and prayers," Brown said.
Brown also reported two people from the missing person list, including 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin, were found alive and well. The updated number of missing people is 5, down from 7.
The sheriff also said, "While every hour it remains less likely that we will find anyone alive, there is always hope." Five days after the mudslide, the army of search and rescue workers in Montecito numbered over 2,000.
The stretch of Santa Barbara County that was severely affected has been a haven for celebrities because of its summer-like weather year-round.
Authorities say the mudslide was almost entirely due to the Thomas fire, one of the worst wildfires in California's history. The wildfire burned away crucial vegetation that keeps the loose soil and rocks in place.
When heavy downpours of rain began hitting the mountain, flash floods took massive amounts of earth with it. Much of the community of around 9,000 still remain under mandatory evacuation orders, even areas that were unscathed.
Brown reiterated the importance of following the mandatory evacuation orders, "It is not a safe or convenient place to be right now."
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