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Disaster protection measures taken

A £9.5 million programme is set to help protect almost half a million people in poor countries at increasing risk from drought and floods.

The scheme will provide measures such as raised housing to keep people safe from flood water, reservoirs to catch rain in the rainy season to be used in dry periods and cereal banks where communities can store grain to feed families in drought.

Poor communities in all five countries are facing a growing risk from more frequent and severe drought and floods, and the project aims to protect people and their homes and livelihoods from climate-related disasters, charity Islamic Relief said.

The programme, funded from Islamic Relief's 2012 Ramadan appeal from public donations and match-funded by the Department for International Development (DfID), will help vulnerable people in Bangladesh, Kenya, Niger, Pakistan and Yemen.

Holby City actor Hugh Quarshie, who is backing the programme, said: "Some aid agencies such as Islamic Relief are rising to the challenge of climate-related natural disasters by shifting the focus of their aid towards disaster protection - helping poor communities to prepare for the worst instead of just expecting them to hope for the best."

It is hoped the three-year project, which is funded by £4.5 million from the public and £5 million from the UK Government, will help 466,000 people through measures such as constructing raised earth platforms to homes from flooding.

Bangladeshi mother Asma Begum, 26, who had previously lost her home five times to erosion or flooding, was protected from the worst floods in 24 years to hit her village in 2012 by a large earth platform which enabled 21 families in the flood plain to rebuild their homes on higher ground, Islamic Relief said.

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