California Residents Begin Cleanup Following Landslides

June 3, 2005

Hundreds of Californians evacuated by a landslide that sent multimillion-dollar houses tumbling down a canyon earlier this week have been allowed to return home, for some, to begin the cleanup of what is left of their homes.

More than a dozen houses crashed down a hill as the earth let loose around daybreak Wednesday in the Laguna Beach area. Approximately 1,000 people in 350 other homes were evacuated as a precaution. Five people reportedly suffered minor injuries.

Nearly 50 homes remained at least temporarily off-limits Thursday, while people could return to some 310 undamaged homes as crews worked to restore gas and phone service to the area.

The cause of the disaster was under investigation. But geologists indicated it was likely in relation to the winter storms that hammered Southern California. Laguna Beach, located some 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, received nearly double its usual yearly rainfall.

Officials said residents likely wouldn’t be able to recoup their major losses. Insurers have been dropping coverage for landslides in recent years, though a number still offer it.

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