…as starving families do anything they can to ensure they have one less mouth to feed.
Girls as young as three are being married off in war-stricken Yemen because their families are unable to afford to feed them, according to charity Oxfam.
The war in Yemen has triggered what the United Nation has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than ten million people at risk of starvation.
A recent UN report suggests that more than two-thirds of girls in Yemen are wed before the age of 18, however the five-year conflict is reportedly forcing families to marry them off at a much younger age.
‘This is really so shocking,’ Brittany Lambert, Oxfam Canada’s women’s rights policy specialist, told CTV News Channel.
‘Families are so desperate now, because they simply have no money and no means to feed themselves, that they have resorted to extremely harmful coping mechanisms like marrying off their young daughters to much older men so that they have one less mouth to feed.’
Over 24 million Yemenis – more than three quarters of the country’s population – are now dependent on some form of aid for survival, according to the UN.
The Red Sea province of Hodeida has witnessed some of the Yemen war’s most intense fighting, which has eased since the government and Huthi rebels agreed to a ceasefire in the area in December.
The Iran-backed Huthis have battled the government and its allies in a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for control of the impoverished country for four years.
Hodeida, held by the rebels since 2014, has witnessed intermittent clashes between the Huthis and pro-government forces since the ceasefire went into effect on December 18.
Around 10,000 people – mostly civilians – have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the conflict in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.
Rights groups say the real figure could be five times as high.
MailOnline has contacted Oxfam for comment.