Jul 13 2010

Live Aid: 25 Years Later

It started off as a song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, released that previous Christmas to raise money for relief of the famine in Ethiopia.

Band Aid was a British and Irish charity supergroup, founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for the Christmas market that year. The single surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release.

The record was released on November 29, 1984, and went straight to No. 1 in the UK singles chart, outselling all the other records in the chart put together. It became the fastest- selling single of all time in the UK, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at No. 1 for five weeks, selling over three million copies and becoming easily the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK.

It exploded into a concert that went around the world and raised £150 million (approx. $283.6 million).

1985: Live Aid makes millions for Africa

The Live Aid concert for the starving in Africa has raised triple the £10m expected.

And as the London event draws to a close at Wembley Stadium, Britain had contributed £1,100,000 to the global total of £30m.

Described as the Woodstock of the eighties, the world’s biggest rock festival was organised by Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof to raise money for famine relief in Africa.

Wembley was packed with a crowd of 72,000, andTV pictures, co-ordinated at BBC Television Centre, have been beamed to over 1.5 bn people in 160 countries in the biggest broadcast ever known.


Twenty five years later, we are still fighting starvation, malnutrition and access to clean water around the world. According to the Unites Nations World Food Program there are 1.02 billion people in the world who are undernourished, that is 1 of every 6th person on this planet. Hunger is the number one health risk, greater than AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria combined.

The numbers are staggering:

642 million people in Asia & the Pacific are hungry;

65% of the world’s hungry live in only 7 countries, India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

More than 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women.

Child Hunger, malnutrition and related diseases cause 60% of the 10.9 million children under five who die in developing countries each year.

Many of these deaths could be prevented with access to Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and Iodine. Simple vitamins and minerals that are available in an adequate diet. Vitamin A deficiency alone accounts for the deaths of approximately 1 to 3 million children a year.

With the abundance of food in the world why are 1.02 billion people hungry? According to WFP there are several contributing factors:


Natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and long periods of drought are on the increase — with calamitous consequences for food security in poor, developing countries.

Drought is now the single most common cause of food shortages in the world. In 2006, recurrent drought caused crop failures and heavy livestock losses in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

In many countries, climate change is exacerbating already adverse natural conditions.For example, poor farmers in Ethiopia or Guatemala traditionally deal with rain failure by selling off livestock to cover their losses and pay for food. But successive years of drought, increasingly common in the Horn of Africa and Central America, are exhausting their resources.


Since 1992, the proportion of short and long-term food crises that can be attributed to human causes has more than doubled, rising from 15 percent to more than 35 percent. All too often, these emergencies are triggered by conflicts.

From Asia to Africa to Latin America, fighting displaces millions of people from their homes, leading to some of the world’s worst hunger emergencies. Since 2004, conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has uprooted more than a million people, precipitating a major food crisis — in an area that had generally enjoyed good rains and crops.

In war, food sometimes becomes a weapon. Soldiers will starve opponents into submission by seizing or destroying food and livestock and systematically wrecking local markets. Fields and water wells are often mined or contaminated, forcing farmers to abandon their land.

When conflict threw Central Africa into confusion in the 1990s, the proportion of hungry people rose from 53 percent to 58 percent. By comparision, malnutrition is on the retreat in more peaceful parts of Africa such as Ghana and Malawi.

Poverty Trap

In developing countries, farmers often cannot afford seed to plant the crops that would provide for their families. Craftsmen lack the means to pay for the tools to ply their trade. Others have no land or water or education to lay the foundations for a secure future.

The poverty-stricken do not have enough money to buy or produce enough food for themselves and their families. In turn, they tend to be weaker and cannot produce enough to buy more food.

In short, the poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.

Agricultural infrastructure

In the long-term, improved agricultural output offers the quickest fix for poverty and hunger.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2004 Food Insecurity Report, all the countries that are on track to reach the first Millennium Development Goal have something in common — significantly better than average agricultural growth.

Yet too many developing countries lack key agricultural infrastructure, such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation. The results are high transport costs, lack of storage facilities and unreliable water supplies.

All conspire to limit agricultural yields and access to food.

But, although the majority of developing countries depend on agriculture, their governments economic planning often emphasises urban development.

Over-exploitation of environment

Poor farming practices, deforestation, overcropping and overgrazing are exhausting the Earth’s fertility and spreading the roots of hunger.

Increasingly, the world’s fertile farmland is under threat from erosion, salination and desertification.

What can we do?

Fill th Cup

Donate now to help WFP defeat hunger

With your support, the World Food Programme is fighting hunger every day, whether we’re saving lives in an emergency or providing schoolchildren with vital nourishment.

It takes just one dollar to fill four cups with nutritious school meals.

Working together, we can build a world without hunger.

Take Action: Starved for Attention

Sign the petition to rewrite starvation and malnutrition.


1 ping

Comments have been disabled.