This week, mudslides in California have prompted evacuations and an urgent emergency response. At least 17 people have reportedly died in the mudslides, and more than 100 homes reportedly destroyed. It's a harrowing situation for people living in the affected regions, after a year that already saw a slew of natural disasters hit the state — which means this is a good time to think about offering whatever support you can. Here's how to help the California mudslide victims, because a lot of people are in real need of a helping hand right now.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito has been badly hit, with the mudslides dealing damage to many homes and forcing evacuations. Montecito is a wealthy area, home to none other than Oprah Winfrey, whose home was reportedly affected in the disaster.
The crisis is the result of recent heavy rainfall in the region, which triggered the mudslides. Some 300 people are still reportedly trapped in their homes in the Romero Canyon region, and rescue efforts are still ongoing — in short, it's an ongoing disaster, and one that demands some attention. If this sounds like the sort of situation that makes you want to lend a helping hand, here are some ways to do so.
Donate To A Local Food Bank
In disasters, and especially when people are displaced from their homes, there are a few things people reliably need ― food, water, shelter, the basics. Needless to say, Montecito and the surrounding areas are fairly economically privileged, so hopefully, many of the people affected will have the financial means to help restore some of their previous quality of life.
But practical donations are always a good idea. The Santa Barbara food bank, for example, is always accepting donations. This is an especially valuable way to support the people who need your help the most ― providing something as basic as food for a displaced or low-income family is about as crucial as it gets.
Support The Santa Barbara Humane Society
The Santa Barbara Humane Society is currently helping out by providing something many people displaced by disasters need, but one that's often easily overlooked or forgotten. The organization is sheltering pets displaced by the storm, providing safe harbor for countless animals while the region rides out the crisis.
The great thing about donating blood is that everybody wins ― your body will eventually replace the blood you lose, and somebody who needs blood gets some, too. Southern California is most definitely in need of blood donations right now, so if you live in or around the area and can give some of yours to help keep the supply going, that's a great way to make an impact.
Donate To A Fundraiser
The cropping-up of online fundraisers is one of the familiar phases of the public's natural disaster response in recent years. The mudslides in Santa Barbara are no exception ― there are already a number of GoFundMe pages that you can donate to, provided you have the money to space.
Check In If You're Safe
If you live in the affected areas but you're safe and sound, you can do a huge help to your friends and loved ones by checking in with the Red Cross so that it's confirmed you're safe.
Follow All Relevant Safety Information
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it's hugely important: if you live in or around the affected regions, make sure you follow all relevant safety advice so that you don't get caught in a dangerous situation. Emergency services are always strained in times like these, so it's important that you not make a difficult situation any more taxing by heading into harm's way. The American Red Cross has some useful tips for avoiding danger and hazard in the midst of mudslide conditions, and you can check them out here.
Suffice to say the community of Montecito and the greater Santa Barbara area are going through a lot right now, and the deaths that have already been reported are tragic in the extreme. As such, if you have the ability and the inclination, you might consider lending a helping hand in any way you can.