More than a week after tsunamis devastated the coastlines of Southeast Asia, leaving more than 150,000 dead and billions of dollars worth of property damage in their wake, many musicians and celebrities are doing their part to aid the victims.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne donated £100,000 (almost $190,000) to Britain's Disasters Emergency Committee during a nationwide charity drive on New Year's Eve that raised more than £60 million. But the Osbournes realized that more money was still needed, and have recorded a public service announcement asking for donations from around the world.
|Tsunami Relief: What You Can Do To Help|
"Like you, we've been watching images of the tsunami floods and we're shocked by the death and devastation," Sharon said. "But we need to act right now. In order to help the most vulnerable, lots of money is needed quickly."
Hollywood has also done its part. On Monday, Sandra Bullock donated $1 million to the Red Cross International Response Fund to help purchase much-needed medical supplies. Bullock donated a similar amount to the Red Cross following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11.
Leonardo DiCaprio also made an unspecified "large" donation to UNICEF. He starred in the 2000 movie "The Beach," filmed on the Thai resort island of Phi Phi, which was ravaged by a tsunami.
NBC has announced plans for a January 15 telethon to raise money for tsunami victims. The telethon will air on the network and its sister cable channels, including USA, Bravo, Sci-Fi, MSNBC and CBNC. A similar telecast 10 days after the September 11 attacks featured Hollywood heavyweights like Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino, and musical performances by Alicia Keys, Eddie Vedder and Neil Young, and raised more than $150 million (see "Springsteen, U2 Help Raise $150 Million For Victims' Families").
And taking a cue from Bob Geldof, the man who organized Live Aid (the massive concert staged to benefit African famine victims in 1985), British promoters are working to finalize plans for a large benefit concert to take place in Wales, and possibly the U.S. and Australia, too.
Scheduling the concert — which would take place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on January 22 and 23 — is proving difficult, due to the short planning period, the busy schedules of artists rumored to be involved (including U2, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and the Darkness), and an international rugby tournament that will take over the stadium the following week.
"We've [spoken with] a lot of the [British] bands, and the BBC has helped us internationally to get the A-list stars. We've had a lot of support from a lot of bands, [the names of] which we don't want to throw out into the public domain yet, in case the whole thing doesn't get off the ground," said Rupert Moon, Millennium Stadium's business manager, on Tuesday. "The whole project is moving at full speed, and the infrastructure is there, but the next 48 hours are going to be crucial. If it's going to happen, it's got to be massive.
"There's talk of something happening in Sydney [Australia] and in the USA, too, and if they did marry up, then we would look to do something based on the Live Aid model [which featured near-simultaneous concerts at London's Wembley Stadium and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia]," Moon continued. "The financial donations people have generated are remarkable, but people need something to get together and show their support physically, just like they did during Live Aid."
In terms of fund raising, Linkin Park were among the first acts to get involved by donating $100,000 to start Music for Relief last week (see "Linkin Park Establish Charity To Help Tsunami Victims"). At press time, several other artists were rumored to be joining the organization, though none could be confirmed. But Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson said that Music for Relief's mission was an ongoing one.
"We're putting this whole thing together as quickly as we can. And as important as it is to get it going immediately, it's going to be a long-term thing, because there are going to be long-term problems," he said. "The best we can do in the coming weeks, the better. You feel so helpless about this, but bringing attention to the whole situation is so important right now."
According to CBS News, more than 25 nations have now pledged almost $2 billion in disaster-relief funds, but more is still needed. The United Nations has said that the relief effort will be the most costly in world history. And although food and medical supplies are desperately needed, the most effective way you can help is by donating money to any of the charities below.
Action Against Hunger
ADRA Asia Quake Fund
American Red Cross (International Response Fund)
The Brother's Brother Foundation
Direct Relief International
Doctors Without Borders
Food for the Hungry
International Medical Corps
The Salvation Army
World Food Programme