AN emergency Scottish Government meeting has been held after Shetland was left cut-off from the mainland following damage to a subsea cable.
Police and BT issued reminders that in an emergency, people can call 999 from a landline or mobile, even without a signal.
But people living in Shetland have been advised to avoid making non-urgent calls so that all available lines can be used for emergencies if required.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Resilience Committee had met on Thursday and would be “working closely with partner agencies to ensure support for those who need it”.
The cause of the damage to the cable – which comes after a separate cable linking Shetland to the Faroe Islands was damaged last week – has not yet been confirmed.
“This is a very serious situation for Shetland,” Sturgeon said. “@scotgov resilience committee has met and is working closely with partner agencies to ensure support for those who need it, and that the cable damage can be repaired and services restored asap.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government added: “The Scottish Government’s Resilience operation has been activated and is in regular contact with the local authority and relevant agencies who are all working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
“We stand ready to provide any support required – ministers have spoken with the local authority and MSP and will continue to monitor the situation closely until it is resolved.
“We are pressing Telcoms companies, and the UK Government (to whom telecoms is reserved), for firm timelines on restoration as soon as possible.”
Police from around Scotland, as well as the Fire and Rescue Service and HM Coastguard, are being deployed to Shetland in the wake of the cable incident.
An emergency hub is also being set up in the Tesco car pack in Lerwick.
A spokesperson for BT Group said: “Due to a break in a third-party subsea cable connecting Shetland with the Scottish mainland, some phone, broadband and mobile services are affected.
“Engineers are working to divert services via other routes as soon as possible and we’ll provide further updates. Our external subsea provider is also looking to restore their link quickly.”