Saudi air strike in Yemen destroys Oxfam warehouse containing relief supplies

The warehouse in Saada destroyed by a Saudi airstrike.Oxfam

Oxfam has condemned a Coalition air strike on a warehouse in northern Yemen containing relief supplies.

The strike by Saudi Arabian forces demolished the Oxfam facility.

Grace Ommer, Oxfam's country director in Yemen said: "This is an absolute outrage particularly when one considers that we have shared detailed information with the Coalition on the locations of our offices and storage facilities. The contents of the warehouse had no military value. It only contained humanitarian supplies associated with our previous work in Saada, bringing clean water to thousands of households.

"Thankfully, no one was killed in this particular airstrike although conservative estimates put the death toll in the country as a whole, since the conflict began, at around 760 – the majority of which are civilians."

The Saada region is a stronghold of the Iran-backed Houthi militia which has overrun the country, leading to a Saudi intervention in support of the Sunni government. Saudi Arabia has not yet commented on the incident, but the spokesman for its military campaign, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, has said targets are chosen to avoid civilian casualties, and that the Houthis often put guns in residential areas.

Yemen's dire humanitarian situation, already regarded by aid organisations as critical before the Saudi air strikes began, has been worsened as a result of weeks of fighting and a naval blockade aimed at stopping arms flowing to the Houthis; it is also stopping food imports,

Analysts say that a worsening humanitarian situation risks undermining Saudi Arabia's political strategy of maintaining the legitimacy of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, now in exile in Riyadh, and restoring his government to power. If Yemenis blame their harder circumstances on the Saudi-led air strikes rather than the preceding military advance by the Houthis, President Hadi's legitimacy may start to be called further into question.

Additional reporting by Reuters.