Laguna Beach Mud Slide Baghchehsarai

July 17, 2007
Firouzeh Baghchehsarai

A mudslide destroyed 20 Laguna Beach homes on Sunday, displacing at least 45 residents and injuring 10 others. At least one of the injured residents is in critical condition.

The mudslide occurred between 4 and 5am, after four hours of heavy rains. The storm caused at least $100 million in property damage, said James Perez, Secretary of Environmental Policy. Clean up will take three months and rebuilding the damaged homes will take one year, Perez added.

Residents complained that they were not forewarned of the storm and that the government has been slow to respond with aid. Perez, with little experience, claims that the government did send out warnings by mail and that there were residents that received them. Deborah Wilson and Robert Lecusay did not.

Perez continued about how the government is building temporary homes for the victims of this disaster. They are said to be finished within two weeks time and the police will contact those still in need of homes.

Not believing a word of Perez’s stories, the two of them worry about what to do.

“It sounded like the world was coming to an end,” Deborah said.

Deborah, a 58 year old retired nurse, was alone in her bed before she woke up to the shudders of the mudslide bringing her house down. She thought it was an earthquake. As she runs out of the house, she forgets her husband’s remains. Some of those things she left cannot be replaced. Now she stays in a hotel, where she waits for her house to be rebuilt.

Robert, 38, a neighbor of Deborah was another victim of this petrifying incident. He was in bed with his wife, Ramana, when he first felt the shakings. Roberts’s two sons, Jack and Steven, were on the other side of the house, the side that fell into the ocean. Fortunately, all were untouched except for Ramana who broke her arm.

After living in that house for 35 years, Robert along with his family now has nowhere to stay. While his wife is in the hospital, he and his two sons stay in his car. “I can’t think,” he said. In his car, they live off the groceries they have and by using the McDonalds bathrooms. Being a graphic artist, he lost everything from his studio to his tools. They are irreplaceable.

Doctor Carl McKinney was one of the hydro-geologists that researched this disaster. He has been expecting a mudslide for quite some time, he just didn’t know when. He explained how Laguna Beach did not have the proper soil or landscape to build on. He is strongly against rebuilding in this area because of its instability.

What scared the two residents, and probably all who will hear, was when they were informed that a mudslide may very well happen again.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License