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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Ethiopia heading for tragedy, Geldof
Geldof in Ethiopia
Bob Geldof visits a feeding center in Sekota in northern Ethiopia
The food shortages in Ethiopia are worse than Bob Geldof expected, he has said at the end of his visit to Africa.

The Live Aid campaigner said millions were at risk from starvation in a situation which amounted to "criminal negligence".

"What I saw was worse than I imagined," he said in Addis Ababa.

Geldof spent two days in the northern highlands of the country, which were worst hit in the famine of 1984, with charity Save the Children.

He said that the latest figures showed there was a 20% shortfall in aid and 235,000 tonnes of supplies were needed.

Describing it as an "enormous tragedy", he added: "If the EU can't rapidly resolve this problem in four to five weeks the estimated shortfall will rise to about 30%.

It was most important to have Sir Bob draw attention to the long-term efforts needed to prevent emergencies recurring in the future
John Graham
Save The Children

"Some NGOs (non-Governmental Organisations) believe there are up to 18 million people at risk."

He accused the British and American leaders of being in a position to help but "ignoring it".

He also said the Ethiopian government, which is more stable than it was in the 80s, should do more to aid its people.

The star said that it was not necessary to hold another Live Aid Concert, which succeeded in raising the profile of Ethiopia.

Debt pledge

Save the Children has been urging world leaders to put an end to the long-term poverty in Ethiopia.

Save The Children's John Graham said: "Sir Bob came at a very crucial and appropriate time. We are battling to respond to a major emergency which if we don't head off soon will be a catastrophe on the scale of 1984 and 1985."

The charity's programme director for Ethiopia added: "It was most important to have him draw attention to the long-term efforts needed to prevent emergencies recurring in the future."

During his trip, Geldof also visited health and youth workers who are battling to control the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The charity and rock star's visit came ahead of the G8 summit of leading industrialised powers in Evian, France, on Sunday.

African leaders are also attending and will be asking the western leaders what moves they have made to meet previous commitments to cancelling third world debt.

Sir Bob Geldof discusses the G8 summit and Africa

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