Money Still Flowing in to Bob Geldof’s Famine-Aid Campaign
LONDON (AP) _ Money is still rolling into the coffers of the African famine-relief drive launched by Irish rock star Bob Geldof, but not as fast as before, officials of the year-old campaign say.
Bernard Doherty, a spokesman for the Band Aid Trust, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that the campaign has already spent about $29 million on emergency relief.
Another $43.5 million has been set aside for long-term projects in forestry, farming, irrigation and education to head off further famine.
Doherty said Band Aid’s contribution ″is a drop in the ocean. The famine is a vast, vast disaster and it will go on. What we are trying to do is to bring people’s attention to it and hopefully governments will be moved to act.″
Fund raising has declined from its peak after the giant Live Aid rock music concerts July 13 in London and Philadephia, when $21 million poured into the Band Aid bank account in five days.
But Geldof, whose original Band Aid drive became Live Aid and spawned other programs to help Africa’s starving, is still raising cash.
″Money is still coming in, with an average of about 5,000 pounds ($7,250) a week, and Live Aid books and T-shirts continue to sell,″ Doherty said.
Although the trust hasn’t got a detailed breakdown of figures, it says the concert probably raised about $58 million of the $75.4 million received by the charity’s bank account in Britain.
That doesn’t include $25 million in American donations from the Live Aid concert, which went into a separate charity in the United States.
The two work closely together on relief projects but each charity is responsible for its own funds, Doherty said.
The best-selling Band Aid recording of ″Do They Know It’s Christmas,″ which sparked the international fund-raising campaign last year, raised about $13 million.
The recording is expected to sell well again when it is released again next week, which marks the charity’s first anniversary.
Geldof, lead singer for the Boomtown Rats, assembled a range of top performers into an all-star group for the Band Aid single, while dozens of top bands took part in the Live Aid concerts, performing in a unique concert that was seen on television throughout the world by satellite.
Fashion Aid, the fashion world’s contribution in London Nov. 5, raised over $1.45 million.
A Sports Aid event is planned for next year but, Doherty wouldn’t reveal details.
Money spent so far by British Band Aid has gone for shipment and distribution of food and medical supplies to the drought-ravaged regions of Africa.
Most of the aid has gone to Ethiopia and Sudan, but the charity recently started sending aid to Mozambique, Chad, Bourkina Fasso, Niger and Mali.
″Along with other relief agencies, we have saved millions of lives,″ Doherty said.
Band Aid works with 97 charities including UNICEF, Oxfam, Save the Children Fund and the Red Cross. In one effort, Band Aid donated $3 million to UNICEF to immunize more than half a million famine-affected children against measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, tuberculosis and polio.
Band Aid says it has bought 17,000 tons of grain, 2,000 tons of milk powder, 200,000 blankets, 200,000 hand tools, 41 hospital tents and three clinics.
The charity says its nine leased ships have carried over 100,000 tons of aid to Africa, much of it on behalf of other relief agencies, and nine emergency flights have taken 340 tons of medical supplies and food.