2 years after Joplin tornado, devastation in Oklahoma is all too familiar for survivors

JOPLIN, Mo. - The devastation in Oklahoma is all too familiar to people in Joplin, Mo., who experienced their own EF-5 tornado two years ago on May 22, 2011.

The tornado killed 161 people, destroyed 7,500 homes and 550 businesses in the town of 50,000.

Dan Chiodo, a longtime resident of Joplin and former publisher of the Joplin Globe, says seeing the images from Moore, Okla., brought back a rush of fear and heartache.

His wife worked at one of the hospitals destroyed in the storm. She survived.

"When you look at the rubble it does all look the same," Chiodo explained. "You also see people so disoriented and that's what I remember most. I remember taking a drive in the neighborhood and just hearing people screaming and crying. It's just a horrible time but things will get better."

Chiodo says in two years, Joplin has come a long way to rebuild and recover.

Work is currently underway to build a new hospital, and soon students will return to a new high school.

Another resident, Beth Newman, says watching footage of the Oklahoma tornado is like looking in a mirror, sending the fear and heartbreak rushing back.

With each new piece of information, Newman says the reflection of what's happening in Moore looks increasingly familiar to what she remembers in Joplin.

She wonders if this is what the rest of the world looked like when it happened to them.

Beth, her husband Russell and their two little girls survived the Joplin tornado in their bathroom.

Most of their neighborhood was gone and their house was a total loss.

Now the Newmans are among the many families helping to send supplies and monetary support to Oklahoma, only wishing they could be there in person.

"To give them a hug and show them support", Beth Newman added.

Some people in Joplin will be able to comfort the people of Moore in person. Joplin city officials sent a support team of public safety employees including police officers and fire fighters to Moore this week.

CNN contributed to this report

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