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California mudslides: 18 people confirmed dead, with two-year-old girl among those missing

Seven people remain missing and dozens of homes have been destroyed.

The aftermath of a mudslide in Montecito
The aftermath of a mudslide in Montecito
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

AUTHORITIES IN SOUTHERN California have discovered the body of an elderly man killed by mudslides that battered the region earlier this week, lifting the overall death toll to 18.

The 87-year-old man was “located by a search and rescue team in his residence,” Bill Brown, the sheriff of Santa Barbara county, said.

Rescuers are continuing their search operations, with the missing now numbering seven, including a two-year-old girl, according to the Santa Barbara sheriff’s office.

Heavy rain on Tuesday, which followed 10 months of drought, sent sticky mud and debris flowing from the hills into Montecito.

In addition to the dead and injured, 65 houses have been destroyed while another 462 sustained damage.

Terrifying wildfires forced people to evacuate in December, and the mudslides struck just two weeks after they returned.

The fires burned most vegetation, leaving perfect conditions for the latest disaster to unfold.

© AFP 2018 

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