Meet the people left stranded by Storm Desmond last night

‘There was basically Netflix and chill happening in the main hall. Most people were drinking’

Storm Desmond is raging across the country flooding homes, causing mass evacuations and creating food shortages.

Thousands of Lancaster students were ordered to leave their homes and sleep in the main hall, while others chose to brave it alone in their rooms and or spend the night helping others. Some even chose to take out inflatable mattresses and go sailing on the flood water.

We tracked down the people affected by the storm last night to hear their stories.

Some blankets were given out, but Adas wanted to take her bear too

Some blankets were given out, but Adas wanted to take her bear too

Adas Li, 20, was told to sleep overnight in the Lancaster University main hall along with thousands of other people after she was evacuated.

The English language first year said: “There was basically Netflix and chill happening in the hall, most people were drinking too. Nobody could shower so it was sweaty and smelled like alcohol.

“We slept in the Great Hall, but there was not enough space so they started opening other halls as well.

“Some people put tables together and slept on those, others on chairs. Some people just chose to stay up all night.

“People were on the balconies and even outside the toilet.”


Scenes inside the main hall


Adas added: “The university provided bedding but there wasn’t enough for everyone, but food and water was free.

“It was difficult to sleep as some people were stressed, others were leaving in the middle of the night.

“We were near the door so it was really cold. It was hard to move around without stepping on someone.”

Adas has now flown to Germany to stay at her boyfriend’s house away from the floods.


Helena was told to leave her room immediately but chose to stay

Computer Science third year Helena TendeDez, 21, thought she would be safe in her room until she was warned to leave right away by university staff.

She said: “Then the porters knocked on my door  saying the uni decided they have a duty of care and I had to leave my room for food, light and warmth.

“I checked out Great Hall and Lica and it was completely packed.

“There were blankets and people everywhere. Everyone was rushing to find a socket to charge their phones.

“There was barely anywhere to stand because of all the blankets and people, plus the queues for people to get buses to Preston were insane – so I went back to my room.”

Helena and her flatmate trying to eat in the dark

Helena and her flatmate trying to eat in the dark

Helena added: “It was extremely dark and I don’t know how they expected people at 10pm to walk to the main building, another reason that I didn’t keep looking for somewhere else to sleep.

“There were families walking and they couldn’t even see where they were going and the mud was all sloshy.

“I think the biggest panic for me was my coursework, but apparently we have longer deadlines.”

Helena is planning to stick it out in her room for the remainder of the storm.


The kitchen with lots of supernoodles

Law second year Carlos Otte, 25, decided to volunteer in the kitchen to feed the thousands of students flooding into the university buildings.

He said: “It was crazy. More than 3,000 people were queuing up asking for food and mops – I even burned myself.

“There were only two of us, but I managed to set up a team of volunteers to help out.

“We had to improvise making mac and cheese, tuna sandwiches and even noodles in a coffee pot.

“Hundreds of people started flooding in and we just went ‘holy shit’.”


Carlos served food for thousands of people

“It was nice we got some food deliveries, but there was literally nobody in the kitchen telling us what to prepare, for how many or what to do. We were left on our own.

“I think we managed to feed everyone. People were essentially a mix between partying on campus and sleeping.”

Carlos expects the power to fully return tonight and will be staying in Lancaster.


Beats sleeping in a crowded hall. Photo by Naomi Mei

Law fresher Tom Malone, 19, took matters into his own hands and used a blow-up mattress for transportation.

He said: “It was funny. We had some inflatable airbeds and parts of the college were flooded so wo took them and went for a sail on them.

“There’s an underpath were all the buses come and go and it was flooded so we sailed the length of that – about 60 or 70 metres.

“Quite a few people watched and they were filming and stuff. Lots of people joined on the airbed too.”

“We didn’t have to sleep in the hall as we got home on one of the buses organised by the uni.”

Shashank after a night spent sleeping inside uni

Shashank after a night spent sleeping inside uni

21-year-old Shashank Sharma also slept overnight in the main university building and spent his time trying to help families settle in.

He said: “I knew I’d experience different things in university, but never this.”


Students sleeping in the hallway

He added: “We were camped near a plug point close to the staircase and elevators watching friends. Next to us was a room full of people with little children.

“Random people kept going there and waking the children up so I used waste paper and gum to write a note.”


Shashank’s note

He added: “It think the letter worked. I stuck two sofas together and managed to get some sleep.”