Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Mar 5th 2010 2:00PM by Matt Glazebrook
A Radio 4 report has apparently found that money intended to provide relief for Ethiopia's devastating 1984-85 famines -- including funds raised by the 1984 single 'Do They Know Its Christmas' and the 1985 Live Aid gigs -- was misappropriated by groups such as the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) to buy weapons. Former TPLF leader Aregawi Berhe told journalists that only 5% of the approximately £65m ($98m) donated by the west in famine relief aid went to feed starving Ethiopians.
According to another ex-TPLF chief, rebels disguised as grain dealers exchanged bags of sand for cash with which to fuel their military campaign against the Ethiopian government. However, these assertions have been denied by the currently ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, itself an off-shoot of the old TPLF.
Geldof too rejects the findings of the BBC investigation. "It's possible that in one of the worst, longest-running conflicts on the continent some money was mislaid, [but] if [95 percent] of [the] money had been diverted, far more than a million people would have died," he has argued. "The essence of the report also is not just about Live Aid. It's that all monies going into Tigray -- that would be Oxfam, Save the Children, UNICEF and Christian Aid -- somehow, we were all duped and gulled. And that's simply not the case. It just didn't happen."