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Band Aid and UNHCR link up again to help Somali and Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia

News Stories, 17 September 2010

© UNHCR/F.Courbet
Somali refugees at a water outlet in Ethiopia. Band Aid's donation will help provide fresh water for refugees in Aw-Barre camp.

LONDON, United Kingdom, September 17 (UNHCR) The Band Aid Charitable Trust set up by rock music legends Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1985 has given £55,000 (US$86,000) to UNHCR to help Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia.

The grant will be used to construct a gravity-fed pipeline to provide a regular supply of fresh water to refugees in the Aw-Barre camp, which hosts some 13,000 Somalis who have fled their conflict-torn country. Some 30,000 Ethiopians living nearby will also benefit from the project.

The provision of clean water will have benefits for public health and personal hygiene. It will also have a positive gender impact as women and girls will no longer have to run the risk of being attacked or raped while collecting water outside the camp. They will also now have more time to spend on education or income-generation activities.

Claire Palmer, a fund-raiser for UNHCR in London, welcomed the collaboration and noted that "this project marks the rekindling of a relationship between UNHCR and The Band Aid Charitable Trust that began in the mid-80s when Band Aid supported UNHCR with funds to provide emergency humanitarian aid for Sudanese and Somali refugees living in Ethiopia."

The Band Aid Charitable Trust was set up to handle and allocate funds raised by the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?," which was performed by a superband brought together by Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and Ure from Ultravox.

Led by the two men, the group featured artists such as Phil Collins, Sir Paul McCartney, Boy George, Bono, Paul Weller, George Michael, Sting and David Bowie. It became a massive charts hit. New versions of the song were released in 1989 and 2004.




Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Provision of clean water and sanitation services to refugees is of special importance.

UNHCR country pages

Bonga Camp, Ethiopia

Bonga camp is located in the troubled Gambella region of western Ethiopia. But it remains untouched by the ethnic conflicts that have torn nearby Gambella town and Fugnido camp in the last year.

For Bonga's 17,000 Sudanese refugees, life goes on despite rumblings in the region. Refugee children continue with school and play while their parents make ends meet by supplementing UNHCR assistance with self-reliance projects.

Cultural life is not forgotten, with tribal ceremonies by the Uduk majority. Other ethnic communities – Shuluks, Nubas and Equatorians – are welcome too, judging by how well hundreds of newcomers have settled in after their transfer from Fugnido camp in late 2002.

Bonga Camp, Ethiopia

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

The signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the army of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement on 9 January, 2005, ended 21 years of civil war and signaled a new era for southern Sudan. For some 4.5 million uprooted Sudanese – 500,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced people – it means a chance to finally return home.

In preparation, UNHCR and partner agencies have undertaken, in various areas of South Sudan, the enormous task of starting to build some basic infrastructure and services which either were destroyed during the war or simply had never existed. Alongside other UN agencies and NGOs, UNHCR is also putting into place a wide range of programmes to help returnees re-establish their lives.

These programs include road construction, the building of schools and health facilities, as well as developing small income generation programmes to promote self-reliance.

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

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