Frustration mounts for mudslide-ravaged California town known for luxury and calm – World

Frustrations and dark discoveries mounted Saturday for a California town ravaged by a deadly and destructive mudslide.

Most of the people of Montecito, which has a population of about 9,000 and is usually known for its serenity and luxury, were under orders to stay out of town as gas and power were expected to be shut off Saturday for repairs.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown on Thursday expanded what was known as the public safety exclusion zone to incorporate most of the town. That meant even those who had stayed behind would have to leave and those who entered the zone would be subject to arrest.

Dramatic video shows floodwaters hitting Montecito, Calif.1:06

“It is a little frustrating,” said Sarah Ettman, whose home was undamaged and whose section of town still had gas and electricity. “It’s martial law here, basically.”

However, with most utilities about to be cut off and sewage running into the nearby creek, she decided to heed the order to leave.

“I mean you’re losing all your basic health and sanitation services,” she said. “When those go down, you have to leave.”

An aerial view of Montecito, where hundreds of houses were damaged. (Matt Udkow/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Associated Press)

It was another difficult turn for those living in the Southern California town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.

Cia Monroe said her family was lucky their home wasn’t ruined and they were all healthy and safe, though her daughter lost one of her best friends.

But Monroe said it was stressful after evacuating three times during the wildfire to be packing up a fourth time. A family had offered them a room to stay overnight, but then they were looking at spending up to $3,000 a week for a hotel.

“Where do you go when you’re a family of four and you don’t…

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