• Beirut

  • Friday, February 23, 2024 at 6:18 AM
    Last Update : Monday, February 26, 2024 at 11:41 AM

Ogero Remains Unharmed by Attacks in the South; Director Tells AWP

(AWP) - The senior official at the Lebanese Ogero Telecommunications Company said that its infrastructure remains unharmed by the ongoing hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army in the south of the country, but noted that several exchange centres were partially damaged though not taken out of service.

Ogero General Director, Imad Kreidieh, said in an interview with AWP, “Some exchanges stopped working in the south as a result of the inability to secure power to them. Today, with the help of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces, we were able to reach some areas when there is calm and supply these exchanges with diesel.”

He said, “We are in a state of war, and in war you always expect the worst. But Ogero has avoided it because its networks are underground. It does not have aerial networks – all networks are underground. I believe that there was a telephone exchange centre that was partially damaged but it did not stop operating.”

Mounting tensions between the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Israeli army have been ongoing in southern Lebanon since October 8, as the two sides continue to exchange artillery and rocket fire, resulting in casualties on both sides, in addition to the evacuation of large areas of residents and significant property damage.

Kreidieh stressed, “Landline communications were not greatly affected in reality, but no one can guarantee that things will remain as they are. If the Israeli enemy follows the approach of destroying infrastructure, we will certainly be affected and will not be able to provide services, but today I consider the situation still acceptable for the internet and landline communications sector in southern Lebanon.”

Nonetheless, he believed that the real problem facing the Lebanese communications sector is the exodus of talent to private companies, describing it as “the brain drain” and attributing it to the fact that “salaries no longer align with the new economic reality imposed by the crisis in Lebanon.”

He explained, “We find that many engineers at Ogero are leaving the organisation and heading to the private sector, whether in Lebanon or abroad, to secure a decent living for themselves and their families. This is the biggest loss primarily. The second loss is the noticeable decrease in the budget for the telecommunications sector and Ogero, based on the economic situation. It hinders what is important for the internet and telecommunications sector, which is development and maintenance. We are now working at the minimum level and this is reflected in the quality of service provided to Lebanese citizens throughout the entire country. These are the two biggest losses we have faced since the beginning of the crisis in Lebanon.”

Kreidieh continued, “We cannot keep up, because in the end there are good employees who do not have dependents and have made the decision to leave the institution and work abroad. We still have workers who have commitments and children in schools and universities, who do not have the ability to travel outside the country.” However, he added that unless the issue of salaries and wages in the public sector is addressed promptly, “a huge problem would be imminent.”