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Rob Lowe slams Bella Thorne for 'insensitive' comments on the California mudslides

Southern California has seen a number of mudslides earlier this week which have devastated Santa Barbara County. 17 people have been reported dead so far, with dozens more unaccounted for in the region. The areas in which these 17 were found were evacuated immediately, but now the evacuation zone has been expanded to the surrounding area, as rescue workers search through fallen trees, debris and rivers of mud for any survivors.

Although crews have reportedly completed a primary search of 75 per cent of the debris field, the subsequent searches may take several weeks. As rescue workers use all-terrain vehicles and helicopters to search for any survivors in the area, some road closures have been put into place. Sections of US 101, which connects Northern and Southern California, have been closed until Monday, but not everyone knew exactly why.

In a particularly awkward moment, actress and singer Bella Thorne vented her frustrations about the road closure on social media, with no awareness of the traumatic events that were its cause. In the now deleted tweet, Thorne wrote: "Fuck u 101 to santa barbra. I'm missing my boyfriends first date on his tour".

Referring to her boyfriend, artist Mod Sun, she missed out on the major news that the closures were due to catastrophic mudslides. Actor Rob Lowe wasn't having any of it, taking to Instagram to criticise her. He screenshotted the tweet and posted it, along with the caption "This attitude is why people hate celebrities/Hollywood. Bella, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced. We will try to move out our dead quicker".

These strong words are perhaps appropriate for someone who doesn't care about the deaths of innocent people, but it turns out that Thorne simply didn't hear the news at the time. She later tweeted out: "Fuck just caught up on some news had no idea why the 101 was shut down...get home to your family safe".

In retrospect, her oversight is more awkwardly-timed than Lowe seems to think it is, so his words come across as pretty harsh. However, it is surprising that Thorne didn't know about this, as I imagine most people in the area have heard about the mudslides.

The oceanside community of Montecito apparently have 43 residents unaccounted for. Authorities haven't confirmed the official number, are still looking for reports from phone calls, social media and message boards. "It doesn't mean that they (the 43 people) are all actively missing," Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said. "We certainly are searching for a miracle right now."

The victims ranged from three years old to 89, with 28 people injured in the county. 65 homes and 462 other residences were damaged in the county, spokesperson Susan Klein-Rothschild said, and eight commercial buildings were destroyed. "This entire area is a very active rescue and recovery and repair zone right now," Brown said, though he emphasized that there had been a "number of significant rescues" so far.