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Live Aid: $65 million and counting

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The melodies are gone, but the money continues to flow in. Live Aid, the global rock show seen live Saturday by 1.5 billion people in 147 countries, has proved to be a smash success. So far more than $65 million, or five times the amount expected, has been pledged in what was an extraordinary display of show biz and idealism.

With the hoopla over it is now time for the accountants to collect the funds, most of which will be funneled through London, and for the charities to determine how they should be allocated.

On Monday, Live Aid organizers invited relief agencies working in Africa to apply for funds.

Agencies in Britain, such as Oxfam and Save the Children, agree the priority need is not food but trucks and fuel so that the food already there can reach the needy areas.

It is estimated that it would take about four to six weeks for the money to have an impact in the drought-stricken areas.

The outpouring of funds for the extravaganza brought together an unprecedented number of singers in the 16-hour rockathon in London and Philadelphia. The people of Ireland alone donated the equivalent of 1 ($1.38) for every man, woman, and child.

``Every time I closed my eyes for a few hours a few more million pounds had been added,'' said an exhausted but elated Kevin Jenden, project director of Band Aid, a group of British rock performers who joined to raise funds for Africa.

Bob Geldof, the Dublin-born lead singer of the Boomtown Rats who inspired the event, says the scale of the donations means Live Aid will be able to pour funds into long-term operations and not just crisis relief.

``Our concerts were trying to keep the starving alive,'' he said. ``Now let us give them a life.'' A Norwegian parliamentarian has nominated Mr. Geldof for the Nobel Peace Prize.


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