Hundreds of university students have been forced to sleep on the floor after their student accommodation flooded – and now they are coping with a coronavirus too.
A video, shared by a youngster at Manchester University, showed the flooding in the “red core” building, and said students had to be evacuated at around 3am.
The footage shows water pouring down walls and through the ceiling, causing large puddles in a student kitchen.
The incident happened last week at Weston Hall, a block of self-catered accommodation on Sackville Street in the city centre.
Students were forced to sit down and were seen trying to sleep on the floor in a small area that appears to make it difficult to maintain safe social distancing.
One of those affected told the Manchester Evening News, the evacuation lasted around five hours and complained that students have now returned to flats with wet carpets that have not been removed.
“It stinks of damp in the building and is genuinely making us all feel ill,” the student said.
There are now reports of positive coronavirus cases on two floors in the block, they said.
“The people in charge for students (aka ResLife) forced us from standing outside to a separate building and into the same room whilst the flood was being sorted out inside,” the student said.
“That’s near enough 100 people in the same room without masks not socially distancing for around five hours.”
A University of Manchester spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the flood that took place on Thursday, 24 September and apologise to the residents for any inconvenience and discomfort caused.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to the university.
“The area in question was evacuated whilst the source of the flood was identified, repaired and cleaned-up.
“During that time, the affected residents were given refreshments and accommodated in a separate building, before returning to their rooms later that morning.
“Dehumidifiers were provided to help dry out carpets and since then we a have not been made aware of any ongoing issues.
“If the residents have any further concerns, they should contact the reception at the Halls immediately and we can carry out further investigations if needed.”
Students at both MMU and Manchester University claim there has been little support when they have been forced to self-isolate.
They say they’ve struggled to get online deliveries and are running low on food.
One mum said Manchester University administrators told her they are ‘besieged’ by spiralling coronavirus cases on campus and have been unable to visit all those affected to check on them.
She felt forced to drive from North Wales to Manchester to deliver basic medicines and food to her 18-year-old daughter.
The infection rate in Manchester among 17 to 21-year-olds has hit 745 cases per 100,000 people.
That is more than triple the city’s infection rate as a whole, 217.1, and Manchester now has the highest infection rate in the conurbation.
At two MMU halls of residence – Birley and Cambridge – public health officials delivered 1,800 kits on Wednesday so that every student could be tested.
The halls remain under a lockdown order although council and university bosses admitted there is no legal enforcement and students are free to leave if they wishProf Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of MMU, encouraged students to ‘do the right thing’ and remain in quarantine.
MMU has also given the students affected a two week rebate on their rent, a £50 ASDA voucher and a care package including hand sanitiser and toilet roll.
The universities say they are moving as many classes online as possible.