Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres show how California mudslides struck their neighborhood—here's how you can help local victims

Firefighters from left, Mark Todd, John Cecena and Jeff Shea help Birmawood Country Club resident Terry Connery escape his home after a major storm hit the burn area Wednesday on January 10, 2018 in Montecito, California.
Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres are among the many celebrities mourning the lives lost and devastation brought upon their Montecito, Calif. hometown.

Just weeks after suffering the Thomas Fire, the state's largest-ever wildfire, torrential rain struck Southern California on Tuesday, causing flash flooding and mudslides which swept away dozens of homes and cars.

The storm has killed at least 15 people, 24 remain unaccounted for and over 50 people have been rescued by helicopters, according to the latest Associated Press figures. Debris from the storm further caused a ruptured gas line, as captured by Winfrey in an Instagram video she posted on Tuesday. Winfrey also demonstrated how deep the mud was in the backyard of her estate.

"What a day! Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara. Woke up to this blazing gas fire," Winfrey wrote. "Helicopters rescuing my neighbors. Looking for missing persons."

Located northwest of Los Angeles and just outside of Santa Barbara, Montecito is an affluent town of 8,900 people. Other famous homeowners in the neighborhood include Alphabet's Eric Schmidt and actors Robert Lowe and Drew Barrymore.

Inches deep in mud and debris, Winfrey posted another video today pointing out that although her property is fine, her neighbor's house had been devastated.

Other local celebrities also shared their distress on social media.

Supermodel Bella Hadid:

Tennis legend Jimmy Connors:


Actor Rob Lowe:


Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres:


If you're interested in helping with local relief efforts, here are two charities you can send donations to:

Donate to the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross had more than 50 people spend the night at its shelter at Santa Barbara City College, American Red Cross spokesperson Jessica Piffero tells CNBC Make It.


"Red Cross volunteers are also providing those impacted with a safe place to stay, hot meals and health services. The organization's crisis counselors are supporting a family assistance center at a local church, where families wait to hear about their loved ones," Piffero said.


Its emergency response vehicle team also went out with first responders to provide blankets and water as residents are rescued from the landslide.

Piffero says the quickest way to help people affected by disasters unfolding in California through Red Cross is to text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, call 1-800-RED CROSS or donate right from the Red Cross website. The local Red Cross shelter for central California can be reached at (805) 987-1514.

Donate to Direct Relief

Santa Barbara, California-based charity Direct Relief helps disaster victims across the world by providing medicine and medical supplies. In light of the recent natural disaster, the organization's CEO Thomas Tighes says that the disaster is now literally in his front and back yard.

"As search and rescue efforts continue, Direct Relief is coordinating its response with the Santa Barbara County Public Health and Emergency Services Departments, as well as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster," Tighes tells CNBC Make It in a statement.

Direct Relief has staff on the group sending medical support as the situation develops, but assures that donations directed toward the Southern California disaster are applied to same day assistance.

"When separated from medication needed to manage diabetes, hypertension or asthma, a person can fall into medical crisis rapidly, resulting in an emergency room visit or worse," Tighes says. "Direct Relief is committed for as long as it takes to help the Santa Barbara and Montecito community recover from these tragic events."

The quickest way for your donation to assist Direct Relief is by donating directly on their website and directing your donation to the "Southern California Fires & Mudslides" on its drop-down menu.

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