Geldof Travels to Ethiopia To Draw Attention to Africa’s ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ Before G8 Meeting
Irish musician and activist Bob Geldof, who organized the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert which raised $60 million for famine relief in East Africa, on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years visited Ethiopia, which is currently facing an "even more complex humanitarian crisis" than in the 1980s because the problems of drought, flood, malnutrition and disease among children are compounded by the AIDS epidemic, United Nations/AllAfrica.com reports (United Nations/AllAfrica.com, 5/27). Geldof's five-day trip, which was organized in part by UNICEF, is scheduled to serve as a "wake-up call" for world leaders who are scheduled to meet next week in Evian, France, for the G8 summit (Whitaker, Independent, 5/28). Geldof said, "The G8 must move to reach substantial areas of need, like in Africa and particularly in this country (Ethiopia) which is ... trying to move forward," adding that the G8 must "help Ethiopia where millions of people are suffering from the compounded effect of food shortages as a result of a drought" and the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Tadesse, Reuters, 5/27). Geldof said that AIDS is an "unimaginable horror on a parallel to the bubonic plague" and is worsening the region's food shortage crisis (U.N. IRIN, 5/27). Geldof also lauded President Bush's efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, saying, "You'll think I'm off my trolley, but Bush has the most positive approach to Africa since Kennedy." In contrast, Geldof added that the European Union's response to the dual crisis of HIV/AIDS and famine in Africa has been "pathetic and appalling" (Carroll, Guardian, 5/28). Geldof and Irish rock star and AIDS advocate Bono last week met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Bono called for world leaders to "end their disagreements" about the recent war in Iraq and "focus on the fight against AIDS in Africa" and other regions (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.