Published on : Saturday, January 13, 2018
Recent California mudslide that killed at least 18 people is causing much distress miles where the torrent of muck and boulders stopped, a local economy that thrives on tourism and the lure of sun-soaked beaches was left reeling.
The economy of California is now taking a rapid decline after mudslide and the area which is totally dependent on tourism is seen the economic downfall.
On a postcard-perfect afternoon, the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company would normally be bustling with lunchtime diners downing fried calamari and lobster tacos, especially in holiday weekend. But according Sean Johnson the business is not well here and the economy is thrashing down.
But with the 101 Freeway clogged by mud and debris, cutting off traffic from Southern California that there is hardly anybody in here.
As the evacuation process is still going on and the rescue operators have continued to look for bodies in the thick mud and evacuations remained in effect, the economic damage ranged up and down the coast, far from where the mudslide ravaged the celebrity getaway of Montecito.
In the some of the affluent places like Summerland, just east of where the mud flow cut a swath through homes and businesses alike, a liquor store with its door open was a lonely outpost.
The restaurants and hotels were dark in Montecito, where 65 homes were destroyed and hundreds of property more damaged and power and water shut off, crippling the daily life of whole California.
The mudslides follow the costliest year on record for the climate-related disaster in the US with fires, floods and hurricanes costing $306bn (£226bn) in the year 2017.
The historic San Ysidro Ranch, where President John F. Kennedy and his wife honeymooned, was heavily damaged due to the mudslide.
Santa Barbara is a major tourist destination and one of the posh areas, attracting visitors to its famous beaches and trendy restaurants.
But in this weekend, there were plenty of seats at eateries, pedestrian traffic was unusually light and parking spaces were often empty.
Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast, said that California is being shaken by a three-pronged problem.
The tourists aren’t coming in their usual numbers and the residents have been forced to move out and thousands of workers can’t get to their jobs.
Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast also said that some of 12,000 daily commuters drive into Santa Barbara from the south. Those people aren’t buying lunch or coffee, or filling up the gas tank on the way to work.
Most of the residents are deeply affected economically, the dollars they would pump into the economy gone with them.
January is not high tourism season in Santa Barbara, but now-closed seaside hotels typically entice the crowds throughout the year.
Making matters worse, Santa Barbara recently witnessed a major wildfire that torched the homes and sent clouds of ash and smoke into communities. Meanwhile, the beaches were closed to swimming, after health officials said mud and runoff from heavy rains contained unidentified amounts of sewage and contaminants, which is alarming for the epidemic. .