The telecommunications system in Lebanon is being restored and is returning to almost pre-civil war standard, particularly in Beirut.
GV: ministry building and rubble on steps. (2 shots)
LV: broken sign and damage to and around the building. (2 shots)
CU: damaged telephone booth pull back to show debris on street.
GV and CU: transmission equipment. (3 shots)
CU: sandbags windows in post office. (2 shots)
SCU: manual overseas exchange in action. (3 shots)
SV: automatic exchange being worked (3 shots)
SV: telephone operators for Beirut working. (3 shots)
CU AND SV: operators in overseas cable room. (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The telecommunications system in Lebanon is being restored and is returning to almost pre-civil war standard, particularly in Beirut.
SYNOPSIS: The headquarters of the lebanese Post and Telecommunications Ministry (PTT) is in the middle of Beirut's commercial district -- the scene of some of the heaviest fighting and shelling during the past 19 months. However, the PTT maintained some services throughout the civil war. Workers coped as best they could, sometimes sleeping inside the building when it was too dangerous to leave and walk through the streets. Satellite communications are also still working.
However, damage to the entire telephone system is estimated at tens of millions of Lebanese pounds. PTT officials can't say when all services will be fully restored. However, it is hoped that all the facilities destroyed during the war will be replaced by the latest equipment. It's hoped manual exchanges like this one will be replaced by fully automatic exchanges.
There are already some automatic exchanges in action in Beirut and these have helped operators cope with the daily increasing load of calls.
The landline to Damascus is expected to be working again any day now, but repair crews have been hampered by seasonal rain which makes field maintenance almost impossible.
Contact with the outside world is maintained through submarine cables into France, Egypt and Cyprus. And there is one small bonus for Beirut, the government has declared that no telephone bills for 1975 and 1976 will be collected.