Video: Humanitarian hurdles for Lebanon

By Richard Engel Chief foreign correspondent
NBC News
updated 8/7/2006 7:26:30 PM ET 2006-08-07T23:26:30

Minutes after Israeli jets attacked Beirut on Monday, killing at least 15, rescue workers were searching for survivors.

And Lebanon's Prime Minister Faud Seniora accused Israel of state terrorism and rejected a U.S.-French cease-fire proposal because it would allow Israel to remain in Lebanon until a peacekeeping force is in place.

The front line — south Lebanon — is now totally cut off. A single fallen log over the Litani River is now the only way in or out.

Sunday night, an Israeli airstrike obliterated the last bridge. Monday, relief workers from Doctors Without Borders — knee deep in the river — carried in supplies. A high risk because they had no Israeli clearance.

With international aid reduced to just a few dozen boxes of supplies carried in a human chain, Hezbollah is stepping in, taking advantage of the shortage to boost its own popularity.

In Tyre, Hajj Hamid told us Hezbollah has stepped up door-to-door deliveries of food, water and medicine.

"This helps us resist and makes all the people become Hezbollah,” Hamid says.

Hamid's son has a skin infection. On Sunday, Hezbollah brought him a cream.

"Me too," another man interrupts. "Yesterday, Hezbollah gave my father eye medicine."

In his apartment, he showed it to us, along with the sugar and gas Hezbollah also brought.

Hezbollah is well funded — $40 million a month from Iran. But the group is under serious pressure after 25 days of Israeli attacks.

A sign of that growing pressure — about a dozen Hezbollah censors threatened journalists in Tyre Monday afternoon.

They put their hands over camera lenses to prevent us from filiming Hezbollah's outgoing rocket launches, then took pictures of the cameramen, threatening to take the cameras away.

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