Prayers are being said across the world for Montecito, California [VIDEO], as the Death Toll has risen to 20 and the search for the missing continues. On Thursday, 11 January, the number was 17, but the number may increase, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Bill Brown, reported on CNN.

The rainfall, which caused the landslide [VIDEO] hit Montecito, a coastal town in Santa Barbara County, Northwest of Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, 9 January left destruction in its wake. According to a release by Cal Fire, reported on CNN, 65 homes were destroyed and more than a hundred damaged.

Prayers for the 20 dead

Authorities have confirmed to CNN that those killed all resided in Montecito, and the ages ranged from three to 89.

Churches in Montecito are closed due to the evacuation; therefore, worshipers visited services in nearby towns with flowers and lit candles and prayed for the families, who lost their loved ones.

On Sunday evening, 14 January, a candlelight vigil, and interfaith service were planned for the victims at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden. The public across America and the world are also praying and sending their condolences via their social media sites.

Celebrities, who have homes in Montecito, are also sending out their prayers and condolences, among them, Oprah Winfrey and actor, Rob Lowe.

Prayers for the people still missing

The search for the missing is still ongoing, as rescuers scour through the mud with difficulty, as large quantities of dirt and debris make access and progress challenging.

According to Sheriff Brown, reported on CNN, Brown is hopeful more people will be found, as there have been miraculous stories in the past, where the missing were rescued after lasting many days.

Evacuation zones increased due to rescue and repairs

Areas for evacuation were raised by officials on Thursday, as they continue the search and rescue of the missing. The zone will be out of limits for a week, but residents should plan for two weeks, according to Sheriff Brown, reported on CNN.

Among the debris, massive boulders are scattered across the area, which workers need to remove. Among the workers is Superintendent of Access Limited Construction, Todd Ferryman. Ferryman and his crew have been drilling holes into the boulders with an expansion agent, which will break them apart into workable sizes. According to CNN, Ferryman wants the area cleared quickly for the public and to be deemed safe, as he wants everyone to get back to their lives after this saddening natural disaster, which has taken lives.