The Orihuela hamlet of Arneva have been without telephones and internet since last Sunday and with no indication of when the village is likely to be reconnected.
With a population of almost 1000 people, a majority of them pensioners, the problem has been caused by the theft of an 800 metre length of cable.
Residents say that they have made many complaints to the telephone company, which has been unable to give them any indication of when they are likely to be reconnected. They say that they have to order the cable in and it’s not always easy to find in such quantity.
Speaking to the Leader Tomas Alvaro said that he finds the answer absolutely incredible “as it is such a large international company”.
He says that the townsfolk also feel as though they have been abandoned by the City Council which has taken no steps whatsoever to try to pressurise the telephone company into effecting the repair.
The problem is also causing financial difficulty to many Arneva businesses who are not able to work, to order stock or to service their clients
Many of the pensioners say that they need a fixed telephone service to communicate with their family members; also with organizations that are dedicated to providing the telecare service (the red button) such as the one offered by the Red Cross, which is activated by a connection established through the landline and that is currently unable to carry out this important function.
Mari Carmen Rueda, who has moved from Orihuela to Arneva to be with her 85-year-old mother, says the situation is distressing. “We were alarmed when we found that the telephone did not give a signal and we are very concerned that we have been like this for more than a week, because here seventy percent of the inhabitants are elderly, and without landlines they are out of touch, because few of them know how to use mobile phones.”
Similar situations have occurred previously in other Oriolan districts during the last two years, in Hurchillo and Torremendo, which had a devastating impact on business.
And branches of the village’s banks have been forced to close to the public because they can’t manage the daily operations carried out in the office, a state of blockade that is forcing clients and other users to move to neighbouring towns to carry out their financial operations. Another major casualty is the pharmacy, which is not being able to work the electronic prescription service and can only dispense over-the-counter products.
The administration of the lottery, hairdressers and even bars are having to reassess their pace of work, since “even the slot machines don’t work,” said one client. And the worst thing for these residents is that they still do not have an estimated repair from the telephone company, being very likely that it will not be fixed until much later in the month.