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Ethiopia Child Marriages Surge as Drought Hits Families

  • Girls as young as 12 marrying men five times their age: Unicef
  • Four successive rainy seasons have failed in the region
A sand storm in a camp for internally displaced people near the city of Gode, Ethiopia, on April 6.

A sand storm in a camp for internally displaced people near the city of Gode, Ethiopia, on April 6.

Photographer: Eduardo Soteras/AFP/Getty Images
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The worst drought in 40 years is reversing decades of progress made in combating child marriage and female genital mutilation across swathes of Ethiopia, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. 

In the first four months of this year child marriages nearly tripled in Ethiopia’s Somali province compared with the same period a year ago and, on average, more than doubled across three provinces, Unicef, as the fund is known, said in a statement on Wednesday, citing local data.