Singer Harry Belafonte and the USA for Africa team-- greeted by tears, cheers and a sudden rainstorm--arrived in Ethiopia on Tuesday with the first delivery of relief supplies bought with profits from the hit record "We Are the World."
The chartered Flying Tiger Boeing 747 cargo jet touched down at Bole International Airport as part of a 15-day African odyssey through Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan. The team will return to the United States on June 25.
Belafonte said the sale of more than 11 million "We Are the World" singles and albums meant hope for about 8 million famine victims in Ethiopia.
"This for many of us in USA for Africa is a moving moment and needless to say very significant. We are here in Ethiopia, we come here with a gift of love, a gift of life," he said.
The arrival was an emotional one. As thunder crackled overhead and dignitaries cheered, Belafonte and USA for Africa president Ken Kragen emerged from the cargo jet, stepped on Ethiopian soil and embraced in a bear hug.
Two children, Mingote Solomen, 6, and Robel Demma Wossen, 8, presented Belafonte with a bouquet of roses. Kragen burst into tears.
"This is the realization of a dream that we had only some months ago to make a meaningful contribution to solving some of the problems here," Kragen said.
"This is the realization of that moment for us. It is a very emotional one for us."
The flight left the United States on Monday and landed in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday where it dropped off half of its 240,000-pound, $3-million payload of food, blankets, medicines and tents. The delivery included 5,000 pounds of "We Are the World" T-shirts.
"We Are the World" was recorded by 45 of America's most famous artists to aid in famine relief in Africa, where officials estimate 150 million people have been affected by drought and famine. Since its release in January, it has earned more than $45 million.