LARGE areas of Lancashire are without power and many schools still remain shut after storm Desmond and the resulting flash flooding that battered the North West over the weekend.

Lancaster University has been without power now for three days, and there is still widespread disruption across the region with 16 severe flood warnings still in place for the week ahead.

The University will remain closed for teaching until the New Year, and students are being advised to attempt to travel home if they can do so safely.

Amy Ditchfield, from Riston in Blackburn, is a first-year Economics student that had to travel back home after flooding caused her last week of lectures to be postponed, despite it being a crucial time in the academic calendar.

“I had my essay deadlines this week for my marketing module, but they have all been cancelled. I have got exams planned after Christmas that will include content I was supposed to cover during my last week of term. Due to the flooding the exams will have to be cancelled in order to teach us this content beforehand, so it means that I have missed out on a full week of lectures and learning.

“We were quite shocked, we saw the weather warnings on the news but we weren’t expecting it to actually be as bad as it was. Everyone was really worried because we all have friends in town and they weren’t able to get themselves home. It was worrying that we couldn’t contact our families to let them know we were okay.”

The loss of power not only prevented lectures from being held, but it also severely impacted the students living conditions both on and off campus with the majority being left without power.

“On Saturday night we had no power and so we only had emergency lighting on. When we woke up the next morning all the emergency lights had run out, we had no water and we had no electricity. We couldn’t use any of the taps and we couldn’t cook anything – we literally couldn’t do anything at all.

“We couldn’t get any information on Facebook because we didn’t have any Wi-Fi or even phone signal. So we were completely clueless. It was a bit weird really, we were all going to go on a night out and we didn’t realise how bad it actually was until we saw the photos emerging of the cars in town that were fully underwater.”

Although the true extent of the damage caused by the storms will be difficult to fully gauge for a while, Amy is hopeful that she will be able to resume a normal university lifestyle when she returns to Lancaster next semester.

“I think I should be able to move back in because my flat wasn’t badly affected. I do know that there was some accommodation in the center of the university that was damaged, with leaking roofs and things like that. So I’m assuming that they won’t be able to settle into the accommodation for a while. I think we are able to claim on insurance though, so a lot of students are now looking at how to do that.”

Have you been affected by Storm Desmond? If so we would love to hear from you. Please contact us on Twitter @QuaysNews and via our Facebook page QuaysNews.

By Rich Fay

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