Katy Perry surprises mudslide survivors at benefit concert

Katy Perry surprised a crowd of more than 2,000 first responders and survivors of January’s deadly mudslide in Montecito, California.

Sunday’s “One 805 Kick Ash Bash” fundraiser, after the area code where disaster hit, made nearly $2 million dollars for first responders, according to organizers.

“This means the world to me,” Perry told CNN. “This is where I flourish. My heart was broken by the tragedy, the mudslide. I’ll do anything to help this community.”

Perry grew up in nearby Goleta, California.

In an emotional moment backstage, Perry hugged 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, who was among the survivors rescued from mud and debris.

Cantin lost her father David in the lethal flow, her 16-year-old brother, Jack, is still missing. Her mother survived.

Perry told Lauren Cantin, “You can sing.”

Before Perry took the stage, the teenager touched the crowd with a performance of “God Bless America.”

Montecito resident Ellen DeGeneres also appeared at the event, telling audience she has continued to share information about the area’s tragedy on her talk show.

“The news has moved on, but we have not moved on,” DeGeneres said.

She added that the impact of the mudslide is similar to the aftermath of hurricanes she saw in her hometown of New Orleans.

“And it’s not just rich people and billionaires, it’s everybody.”

Comedian Dennis Miller emceed the the event. Katharine McPhee, Wilson Phillips, Alan Parsons, Dishwalla, Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and Richard Marx were among other performers with ties to the community who entertained the crowd.

“This is just amazing,” Montecito Fire Department Chief Chip Hickman told CNN.

“The incredible outpouring of support for our first responders, we’re just thankful for everyone here.”

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