Hurricane Harvey victims share survival stories

First responders continue to rescue people from flooded homes, including a Hurricane Katrina survivor who used social media to call for help.
11:16 | 08/31/17

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Transcript for Hurricane Harvey victims share survival stories
Good evening. For five days now, we Americans have watched and prayed for our neighbors in Texas. They are battered and fighting back against hurricane Harvey. Nearly 52 inches of rain have fallen and that's a record for the continental U.S. It's caused a flood the size of the grand canyon. Lives lost, lively hood swept away. At least 32,000 people in shelters. That number will climb, and even as the flood waters receding in Houston, what they will leave behind, alligators and snakes, to toxic things that could poison them long after. Tonight, concern growing over a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. The company warns an explosion is very possible, and they have no way to stop it. Harvey's victims need help. Lots of it, and tomorrow, our parent company, Disney S holding a day of giving. A fund-raising telethon that begins with our local affiliates, "Gma," and throughout the day on ABC, ESPN, freeform, radio Disney and our social platforms. You can find the details on, and the numbers on the bottom of your screen. We'll tell you how you can help. Our correspondents are spread across the storm zone, and we begin with ABC's gio Benitez just outside Beaumont where an rescue is under way. Good evening, gio. Reporter: That's right. We're seeing so many selfless acts here in Texas. We are seeing so many people still come in here with these boats. They are using these boats and bringing them from all across the country to help people in those flooded homes, get them out to safety. Get them out to dry land. Now I want you to look a look at this video. It was released late today by the Navy, and you can see there's there video in Beaumont, Texas. There's the air rescues. We have seen them get to their rooftops to avoid those floods. That's how the Navy has been finding these people. You can see this family, the Navy pulling them off their roof. And in nearby, Port Arthur, the elderly stuck in a flooded nursing home. Rescuers pulling all 70 of them out to safety. We're seeing these everyday Americans jump into action in a remarkable way, and, you know, we hear about this country being divided, but here in eastern Texas, I can tell you it could not be more unified. Gio, thanks very much. We're here with ginger zee for more, and we saw those new floods. So hard to wrap your head around the scale of this storm. The scale of it is everything, and the timing. Imagine dropping 20 to 50 inches of rain from New York City to Boston. That's the expanse of land we're talking about. These maps, and all the white would be the 20 plus, but there was the 30 to 40. Port Arthur getting hit so hard. Even though the rain has stopped, the rivers are still rising. I want to take you to the glimmer of hope. Tropical depression, Harvey. It has stopped being a tropical storm, and you're seeing that move a little more quickly, north, northeast. Heavy rain will come along with this. Memphis could see heavy stuff. Up to Lexington, and Harvey will be eventually done with us. We can say good-bye to the storm itself, by this weekend. It's picking up steam right now, but the big problem was it just sort of parked over Houston. The big question, why? The history of this is incredible to look at. Let me show you this. The landfall was late Friday night. It comes on. It sits. It spins. It does a little loop. It goes back to the gulf of Mexico, and then it makes another landfall early this morning. Still as a tropical storm. That's why you had so much rain in place. Why did it all happen? You had two big high pressure systems sandwiching this storm, not allowing it to move. The current or jet scream was too far north, and we have separated those two, and it's starting to jet northeast. Stand by. We'll come back to you late. Houston is the largest city like this to be hit by this, and Tom llamas is on the scene. Good evening, Tom. Reporter: We got to Texas Saturday night. Seeing up close what the storm has done to America's fourth largest city, up to 40,000 homes destroyed. This storm could cost more than $100 billion in damages. Here on the ground, we have witnessed it all for incredible rescues to a body being discovered in a parking lot right in front of us. There's an old rule when riding out a hurricane in Houston, and it's testament to this. The wind will hurt you. The water will kill you. ??? If you're just joining us we need everyone to move into the building. I want you to take your family. Go around these people and go straight inside the hall. Reporter: Tired, thirsty, uncomfortable, and these are the lucky ones. There are tens of thousands of them, finding safety tonight in 1 of 235 shelters across Texas and Louisiana. Some arriving in dump trucks. Some in the arms of strangers. This is the convention floor. This is where so many of those people are sleeping. They planned for 5,000, and that's how many cots they have. Now they have more than 9,000. Lisa sailor has been here for days helping mothers and children. I had a lady yesterday, a young woman that stood in water for a day and a half with her girls because she didn't want to leave her home. The whole lake Houston looked like an ocean of water. Reporter: 18-year-old Talia Castro with her 7-month-old nephew on her knee finds herself caring for her own child, sleeping there on the floor, and three nieces and nephews. What's it like? It's hard because I'm not used to taking care of all four of them at the same time. Reporter: A total stranger, Dee Wilson, took pity, welcoming Talia to her carpeted corner an oasis away from the bare cold floor and careless feet. How did you guys meet each other? She was in the corner with the kids, and people was walking over her and, you know, being disrespectful and we just invited her over here to kind of help her. Reporter: In Port Arthur, people took shelter at the Bob bower civic center. It was supposed to be safe and dry. It was not. Flood water chased people up the gym bleachers to wait to be evacuated, again. Twhe got people in the bleachers. They got mattresses on top of the chairs. Reporter: The shelter at the Houston convention center is prepared for health emergencies. This is just like a mini hospital. They are actually going out to get patients and transport them back here. If they can't get to a hospital? And some of the hospitals are closed because they are flooded. Reporter: Everyone coming into these shelters has a story of survival. But few equal the ordeal of one mother who saved herself and couple of dozen of others by sending out an sos on social media. I was scared out of my mind, I thought we were going to die. Reporter: Iashia Nelson survived hurricane Katrina, only to find herself, a dozen years later, in the eye of a storm named Harvey. You say attacked. Yeah. Because that's what he did. Harvey came in and attacked. He took over. Reporter: As the hurricane pummels everything in its path, she and about 30 family and friends huddle in an apartment waiting for help. When none arrives, she begins posting on Facebook. Was the water coming up? The water was rising so fast. Reporter: So you're facebooking and the water is rising up? Rising up. Reporter: 5:42 Monday morning, about an hour before sunrise, she posts this video. The building across the street is about to collapse. The building across from me is collapsing. Reporter: With the flood water at their heels, iashia and the others break through a window to get out on the roof. The word of her plight spreads on social media. "Good morning America" interviews her. Tell me how you're doing, and how you're holding up. It's not going good for us. Across the street, the building is caving in. There's water everywhere. We have nowhere to go. Reporter: A few hours later, iashia goes live on Facebook. We need help, we need help right now. They got a whole family out there in the water, the people here is drowning, I seen three dead bodies. Lord, please help us. Oh, my god. Reporter: The water's rising. You lived through Katrina, you know what can happen. What's going through your head? Honestly, I thought we was going to die. I really did. But I kept the faith, I prayed. Reporter: At 10:27 Monday morning, with an online audience now grown to more than 100,000 views, she goes live again. We are still here, we are still waiting. The water is just coming. It's just gushing from the back of the building. I'm praying that they get us because if they don't get us soon, they're not going to get us at all. Reporter: Trapped in ruthless floodwaters whipped up by a storm straight out of the bible, all she can do is pray for a boat. I just want to get to dry land. That's all I want to do. Reporter: And then a miracle with an outboard motor. Piloted by James Murphy and some other men. The children carried out first, through the dirty, dangerous riptide, and then the rest. Refugees from the rooftop. Hold on tight! Reporter: Suddenly, they are safe, wrapped in red cross blankets, and the embrace of family. One more post. A picture of her son, Peyton, who lost his toys to the hurricane. Now happy with a new one. I want to thank everybody that looked out for me and my family. You all don't know how grateful I am. The love that you all showed me, I feel like I got family everywhere. Thank goodness it worked out for her, but Tom, we finally saw some sun in Houston today. Is there a sense they're turning a corner? Reporter: George, in many ways, yes. The water behind me is receding. You see traffic on the highways, restaurants and gas stations are open, but in other ways, no. Because entire neighborhoods have been wiped off the map and tens of thousands of people are now living on a cot, looking at life that way in a shelter, surrounded by strangers. As the governor said, this is going to take years. Tom llamas, thanks very much. We'll be right back. Announcer: When we return, finding shelter in a furniture store. Cost doesn't matter. People are sleeping on $8,000 beds. Announcer: Human cost does. As part of ABC's day of giving, you can help those affected by hurricane Harvey by visiting, or texting the worksd Harvey, to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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