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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Emerging from Bint Jbeil's rubble
The United Nations now estimates that up to 900,000 have been displaced in Lebanon but many civilians are still trapped in villages and towns on the frontline.

The BBC's Fergal Keane visited the southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbeil where scores of houses have been destroyed in some of the most fierce fighting of the current crisis.

The town of Bint Jbeil is no longer a place of the modern world.

An elderly Lebanese drinks water as she waits to be helped after coming out from shelter during a lull in the fighting in the village of Bint Jbeil, southern Lebanon
Civilians have been hiding in the ruins of their homes

Here next to a Hezbollah flag, shredded by gunfire, but still flying, we saw for the first time the very worst the war had done.

Nine Israelis were killed in fierce fighting. The Israelis shelled the town into rubble.

In the ruins of houses we found old people trapped by the fighting. One woman was desperate for water.

There were no rescue workers in this part of town so it fell to journalists to carry them out to the ambulances.

We could do little but offer water. "If I had a gift I would give it to you," one elderly woman told us.

They had survived and it seemed as if they were astonished by that.

"We were hiding in the basement from the beginning," a man said. "This is the first time we have seen the light of day."

This was war fought in every corner of the town, whatever the suffering that involved for civilians.

War weary

Across south Lebanon refugees were on the roads. One man was walking an elderly neighbour north towards safety. He was furious as he approached us.

"Tell the UN to come and see the hungry women and children, the bodies under the rubble being eaten by dogs. There's no conscience left in this world," he said.

At Tinbeen not far from Bint Jbeil, mothers pleaded for lifts north.

Many families had just arrived here by foot but others seemed too old, too tired to struggle any longer.

Missile on Bint Jbeil street
The remains of war lie strewn amongst the remains of Bint Jbeil
Most of the people here had only just come from Bint Jbeil and they were anxious to be heard.

"We were forgotten in that area - we were forgotten. Please let my story be heard by all the world," said one woman.

Two armies fighting have bombed this town back to the Stone Age and it's happened in the 21st Century.

It's happened in spite of the existence of the United Nations, in spite of the promises made to civilians that they will be protected during time of war.

For the people of Bint Jbeil there was no protection at all.

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