Harvey survivor who was rescued from the roof on rebuilding: 'God is looking out for me'
"When something bad happens, I always look for the good," she said.
— -- The woman whose plea for rescue from the roof of a Houston building during Hurricane Harvey was broadcast live on "Good Morning America" said that two months later she feels grateful to be alive, but that "reality set in once I went back to my apartment and realized I had nothing."
"God is looking out for me, because I’ve still got a roof over my head," Iashia Nelson told ABC News. "Material things, they come and they go. But life don't."
Nelson's desperate plea for help, when she video-chatted with "GMA" from a rooftop as floodwaters rushed around her, highlighted the agony of those impacted by the hurricane that pummeled southeastern Texas approximately six weeks ago.
'I thought we was going to die'
In a new interview that aired on "GMA" today, Nelson recalled the terror of Aug. 28, when Harvey's floodwaters forced her to flea her home, describing the experience as a "nightmare."
"I just remember it was a lot of people on the roof, and I thought we was going to die, 'cause I could just hear all these people cry for help," she recalled. "It was like, this was a nightmare. But it was really life."
"But once 'Good Morning America' called me, I kind of got a little hope," she said. "I said, 'Well, they've got a platform, so the world can see us and somebody can get us help.'"
She added that she was "grateful" to have been rescued and for all of those who followed up to help her and her family after they found shelter.
On having to 'start all over from scratch'
Nelson, who came to Houston to restart her life after surviving Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, said that after the floodwaters receded and she no longer feared for her physical safety, the reality of the situation began to sink in when she returned to her apartment.
"You walk into a place with nothing, and you got to start all over from scratch," she said. "And that was reality."
She said that remarkably, the only thing that she was able to recover from her flood-ridden home was a Bible that she received from her former church in New Orleans.
"I got the Bible when I got baptized in church in New Orleans, Allegiant Fields Baptist Church, which is no longer, no more, because Hurricane Katrina took that church away," she said.
She said that upon returning to her home, the Bible "was the only thing that was left, really, in there that was salvageable."
The mother of three boys aged 17, 15 and 4, said that she is especially worried about the impact the catastrophe had on her children.
Nelson said that her 4-year-old son gets scared whenever it starts raining.
"Every time it rains now, he looks out the window, and tells everybody, 'We've got to leave, it's going to flood,'" she said. "I said, 'No baby, it ain't going to happen no more.'"
When asked what her family still needs, Nelson responded, "We really just need clothes."
"And then Christmas is coming up," she added. "I'm not a materialistic person, so nothing is too small for me."
Nelson added that she brought nothing with her when she escaped her home during the hurricane, saying, "I had nothing. Nothing but my purse, and my purse popped."
'When something bad happens, I always look for the good'
While she tries to remain positive, Nelson said there was a point while she was trying to find a permanent place to stay when she just wanted to give up.
"During that down moment, I went inside the bathroom," she said. "I was crying. Crying and praying and saying, 'God, I know you’re an on-time God, but I need you more than ever now.'
"I don't want my children to ever see me in that kind of situation, because if they know that I'm down, they know nothing is going to go right," she said. "That's why I always try and keep a brave and strong face. 'Cause if I break down, my children feed off of my emotions."
Nelson added that during the moment when she wanted to give up, she forced herself to focus on the positive aspects of her situation.
"I just tell myself that, 'It could have been worse, you could have been dead ... your children could have been dead. You know, you could be homeless right now but you're not,'" she said. "I always look at the brighter side.
"When something bad happens, I always look for the good," she added. "'Cause I always say, 'When it’s something bad, something good is to follow.'"
Nelson said that in a year from now she hopes to be "inside my own home."
"None of my mom's children ever bought a house before, and I want to do something that they never did," she said. "I want to be one of the ones that bought a house. So I can have something I can leave my kids when I close my eyes."
Ways you can help
Feeding America: The nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity provides support, food and supplies to people impacted by the recent natural disasters, serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Visit FeedingAmerica.org/ABC
ABC News' Kaitlyn Folmer contributed to this report
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