CHARITIES have called for Britain to act as a peace broker instead of an "arms broker" in Yemen as airstrikes cause a devastating humanitarian crisis.

Britain is one of the leading arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition to dislodge rebels known as Houthis and their allies in Yemen.

And last month it was reported Foreign Office officials and diplomats have warned the UK government is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen.

Yesterday a spokesman for Oxfam said the situation in Yemen was one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with over 20 million people in need of aid.

He said: "The country was very poor before this started and now there is thousands of people displaced because of the fighting.

“Britain needs to play a role as a peace broker rather than an arms broker to this.

"This is a forgotten crisis - it is hardly on anyone's radar. Terrible things are happening and over 20 million people are suffering enormously."

Save the Children published a report last week documenting the impact of the use of explosive weapons in Yemen. More than 1,500 children have been killed or injured since violence escalated in March, many as a result of missiles and large aircraft bombs.

Raja, a seven-year-old quoted in the report, told how he was playing in his garden when a missile hit his house, just as his mother was trying to get out with her other two children.

He said: “I saw my mum burning in front of me. Then I fell down and later I found myself in the hospital and my body was injured.

“I didn’t find my mum beside me as always. Later I found out she, my brother and sister had died.”

Kimberly Brown, a spokeswoman for Save the Children, said the humanitarian situation - which is deteriorating every day - due to airstrikes and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

"This is a practice we see happening in many conflicts and that is why we continually call for an end to this practice," she said.

"It is killing civilians, it is injuring civilians and it’s also causing psychological trauma."

A UK Government spokesman said it took its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates "one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world".

He added: "We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our assessment.

“We are supportive of Saudi Arabian-led Coalition military intervention in Yemen following President Hadi’s request for support by ‘all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter Houthi aggression’.

"UK support for military action is contingent on adherence to international humanitarian law, and a continued legal basis for the military action.”