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This Is What Parts Of California Look Like After A Huge Mudslide

At least 15 people have died after mudslides in Southern California. Scores have been hospitalized, and more than 300 people remain trapped after the devastation.

Posted on January 10, 2018, at 6:49 a.m. ET

Police have said the devastation is like something from "World War I" after a mudslide ripped through parts of Southern California.

Handout / Reuters

At least 15 people have died, with emergency services warning that a number of people are missing and that they expect the death toll may rise.

The mudslide started shortly after 4 a.m. on Tuesday after torrential rain indundated the state, which is only just recovering from the wildfires of last month. Emergency officials said that they responded to more than 600 calls in the space of three hours, as people woke to the deluge coming through their front doors.

Emergency services, including firefighters assisted by helicopters, went from house to house pulling people out of the mud.

Handout: Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press / Reuters
Handout: Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News . / Reuters

The floods and mudslides have shut down more 30 miles of the main coastal road.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department: Reuters

Many drivers had to abandon their vehicles after they were stuck. Northbound highway 101 was shut, hampering attempts to get emergency responders into the worst-affected areas.

Eric Risberg / AP
Handout: Santa Barbara County Fire Department / Reuters

Thousands of homes and businesses have been either damaged or destroyed by the mudslides.

Daniel Dreifuss / AP

Although officials ordered an estimated 30,000 people to evacuate, many stayed, saying they were frustrated by official evacuation efforts during December's wildfires.

The hardest-hit homes, officials said, were those not in the evacuation zone. The worst damage was in the community of Montecito, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said, where some homes were knocked off their foundations by the strength of the mudslide.

Handout: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department / Reuters
Social Media / Reuters
Handout . / Reuters
Handout: Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News / Reuters


California's Highway 58 in Mojave is open. A previous version of this article stated the road had been closed due to flooding.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.