IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — Many residents in Southern California with ties to Oklahoma are reacting to the massive tornado that killed over 50 people near Oklahoma City Monday.
There are around 4,000 Oklahoma University alumni in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The president of the Greater Los Angeles chapter in Irvine, A.J. Djo, said the news has been handled emotionally.
“It’s unbelievable,” Djo said. “It’s like the whole city is gone.”
Djo, an engineer in Laguna Hills, has spent all day desperately trying to reach family and friends in Oklahoma.
“I got a busy signal, but more disconnected,” Djo said. “So I think all telephone service is disconnected.”
Djo, who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1977, says that his family and friends live in the town of Moore, Oklahoma, which is just minutes from one of the schools, and was hit hard by the tornado.
“We are all part of the same, and this is really devastating,” Djo said. “So many kids, so many people are dead.”
Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder, Matt Kemp, is from Oklahoma originally. He hit a home run in the Dodgers 3-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, and tweeted about the tragedy after the game.
Red Cross and urban search and rescue teams in Los Angeles and Orange County both report that they are ready to go to Oklahoma if they are called.
Three southland firefighters are already set to leave for Oklahoma on Tuesday.