Mitchell Reports | May 23, 2013
>> and joining me now by phone is michael thompson , oklahoma secretary of safety and security . thanks so much, secretary thompson for joining us. you've been directly involved in helping people get back to their homes. weather permitting of course, trying to assess their own damage. have most people been able to get back into the neighborhoods?
>> a number of them have, andrea, thank you for asking. everything that we have, east of i-35, if you're familiar with the area, we hoped that up yesterday at about 15:00 and have free access on the east side . we still have a limited amount of restriction on the west side , a manned perimeter.
>> the restrictions are because of potential electric wires , gas lines? or other issues there that where you have not secured the area?
>> we're just working through as we go. as you know, that part on the west side got hit a little bit more harder than the east side . so it's easier to free up the east side than the west side . but you're exactly right there are a number of hazards still there and cordoned off the area. we want to make sure it's safe before we start allowing people to walk through there. we don't want them to go get injured just trying to go through their property.
>> do you have enough bulldozers and backhoes and other big equipment to try to clear debris and get the roads reopened?
>> debris is a major issue. we had the governor leading a great team and we had a robust discussion about debris and how we are going to move forward. you be amazed at the amount of support that's poured into oklahoma .
>> we are looking at pictures of secretary thompson, people just picking through the debris. can they get trucks or u haul there is to try to salvage with what they can? what do they do with what they find?
>> it's really a sad situation. if you think of it. when these families that are coming back, so heartbroken when they see what used to be their home. we're trying to concentrate on the clear paths to allow trucks and u-hauls and that sort of thing to come back so certainly if people are able to recover items from their home. they're able to secure them and get them out of the impacted area.
>> the latest numbers that you have of people who are displaced? or home owners or families displaced?
>> i don't have a hard number on that. i've kind of been more conscious of the number of folks we had injured. unfortunately a number of folks we're trying to recover and that kind of thing.
>> we were told by our reporter, craig melvin, that there's a big spike in the count of people injured today. the death toll remains at 24, but there are a lot more injuries. is that because people now are able to move around and get into the hospitals and get checked? or are we just -- hearing a better count of people who are disbursed to various doctors and hospitals?
>> i think you nailed it. i think we are just to the point where this thing is starting to settle into a rhythm and people that were affected are able to do more accurate reporting and we're able to consolidate those numbers better.
>> well michael thompson , thanks so much for taking the time. i know you're out there working on this horrible recovery. and we thank you for everything you're doing. thanks for checking in.
>> thank you, mrs. mitchell and thank you for the attention you gave us in oklahoma .
>> you bet, we'll stay on