Many injured have serious injuries, officials said, adding they fear the death toll could rise further. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Responsibility for the explosion was not immediately claimed. The warehouse was used to store weapons as well as explosives, both commonly sold in Lawdar’s market.
Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile. The following year, a Saudi-led coalition went to war to fight the Houthis and try to restore the government to power.
Despite relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war largely ended in stalemate and spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Over the years of conflict, the poorest country in the Arab world has also been inundated with small arms smuggled through poorly controlled ports. In May, at least five civilians were killed and 20 injured when a man dropped a hand grenade into a crowded fish market in Aden, a port city in southern Yemen.