Mudslide Tears Through 20 Laguna Homes

Dan Darwish
July 17, 2007

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 four and five in the morning after four hours of heavy rains. James Perez, Secretary of Environmental Policy, estimated that the storm had caused at least $100 million in damages. He also stated that clean up would take three months and one year to rebuild the damaged homes.

Residents complained they were not forewarned of the storm and that the government has been slow to respond with aid. Robert Lecusay lost his home in the landslide and explained his frustration with the government.

“Take it from me,” said Lecusay with respect to the government, “they’re not providing anything.”

Lecusay, who now lives with his 8 and 10-year-old children in a car, isn’t the only person with gripes toward the government. Debra Wilson, whose home was destroyed, recalled the disaster as a terrifying ordeal.

“It sounded like the world was coming to an end,” said Wilson. Later she expressed her dissatisfaction with the government when she said, “I mean, they sent us to the press conference before they sent us notification.”

The California government is now making decisions to ensure that this disaster will not happen again. James Perez, Secretary of Environmental Study, presses that the government is at the moment trying to provide insurance for the witness.

“We’re currently in the process of helping,” said Perez. “We’re trying to get hotels for the residents in Laguna Beach.”

Now residents question whether the government will restrict building in Laguna Beach. Dr. Carl McKinney, a hydro-geologist, affirms that most sites in Laguna Beach were unsuitable for construction in the first place.

“It never should have been built on,” Dr. McKinney said with respect to the Laguna city. “It was really only a matter of time,” he said in response to the disaster, “and it will happen again.”

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