A severe lightning storm on Tuesday morning has left communites across Galloway without any form of communication with the outside world.
After power cables were hit by fork lightning, phones and internet connection went down across the region and power was lost for up to 19 gours in some villages.
A BT spokesman said: “The severe lightning strikes yesterday have caused significant damage to telecoms services in Dumfries and Galloway (and Ayrshire). The area around Whithorn, Stranraer and Newton Stewart currently appears most badly affected.
“Fault reports are much higher than usual and are still coming in and we are mobilising engineers from around Scotland to join their local colleagues to reach everyone affected as quickly as possible.
“It’s really important that anyone experiencing issues contacts their service provider to report their fault and discuss requirements. In some cases electrical equipment may need to be replaced and this is managed by service providers. They will also liaise with Openreach on behalf of their customers to organise engineering appointments. Service providers may also be able to help with practical measures such as putting line diverts in place while permanent repairs are carried out.
“Lightning damage is notoriously difficult to repair. It can cause multiple faults on an individual line, so clearing the damage can mean a painstaking process of elimination. Engineers can clear one fault only to find another further along the line. Damage can also take time to manifest, causing network degradation or equipment to fail several days after the initial strike.
“With further lightning forecast, the situation remains fluid so we would like to take this opportunity to thank local people for their understanding and patience while repair efforts are ongoing.