Houston family finds holiday spirit despite loss
HOUSTON - It has been four months since Hurricane Harvey decimated the Texas Gulf Coast, killing 82 people and affecting more than 13 million Gulf Coast residents.
Harvey was labeled the most expensive natural disaster in the history of the United States since Hurricane Katrina. The largest estimates show Harvey caused roughly $180 billion in damage.
Some Houston residents have rebuilt in this short time. Others are still rebuilding and even others yet have abandoned their homes and moved elsewhere.
This holiday season, Harvey survivors David and Shara Serrano are focusing on what they have, rather than everything they lost.
"We were fortunate," Shara said. "We do have each other, we have family, friends we have our kids. You can't really ask for much more."
Their home has flooded twice. They lost nearly everything this year, they fear it will happen again and are trying to leave Houston.
"We did not want to come back," Shara said. "That was one of the first things we said after we were rescued."
The Serranos have two children, Camilla and Sebastian. Like their parents, they did not want to return to Houston over fears that a worse flood could be coming.
"These disasters keep getting worse it seems like," Shara said. "It is exhausting and extremely frustrating losing everything, even things we were still paying for."
Moving away from the city is costly. Especially since both David and Shara work in the city and have always called Houston home.
"Enough is enough, I will not put my family through this again," David said. "Unfortunately we are stuck in our mortgage and financially it's not possible right now, but we will keep saving our money to try to move in the future."
The loss of most of the Serranos possessions and car put a large dent in the family's finances. They were forced to celebrate the holiday season a little differently than they had in the past.
"We couldn't really go all out with the gifts this year," Shara said. "But we're all together. That's what I am thankful for."
The Serranos are still working to replace everything that Harvey took from them but this holiday season they are thankful their family is together.