Reporters on the Job

Trapped in Tyre: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford is stuck in the southern Lebanon city of Tyre. From here he has a front-row – but restricted – view of the war and the worsening humanitarian situation.

In the initial weeks, he says, UN peacekeepers were able to get out occasionally to bring boxes of military food rations to trapped villagers. But even those relief convoys have come to an end because of the fighting.

"There is a sense of siege in Tyre because the Israelis have threatened to attack any vehicle south of the Litani River. We can no longer make dashes to report in surrounding villages. It's very frustrating," he says.

Even driving in Tyre is hazardous because of the presence of missile-firing drones overhead. Two reporters were slightly injured a few days ago when a drone fired a missile at a man standing outside a cafe on the edge of Tyre. "No one knows why he was targeted," says Nick. "The man died moments later, and shrapnel from the exploding missiles hit one photographer. Another reporter suffered a perforated eardrum."

While supplies can't get in, Nick can't leave. The causeway across the Litani River, which was the only lifeline connecting the south to the rest of the country, was blown up three days ago.

The UN and aid agencies have been pressing the Israelis to allow the construction of a new temporary bridge on the road over the Litani so that humanitarian supplies can reach the south.

"The initial word from the Israelis was that they would destroy any new bridge. The head of the International Committee for the Red Cross managed to get into Tyre three days ago – he waded across the river. Some enterprising locals have built a makeshift bridge of steel runners and rocks allowing some vehicles to cross, but a couple of cars fell off and are in the water," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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