"At least 26 bodies have already been found and buried, and 20 are still missing. Seventy-four people made it ashore, and of course are completely traumatised."

She said the scale of the problem was "huge, and it has become huger and huger".

Around 26,000 people have arrived in Yemen so far this year, with more than 200 people dying en route, and another 225 others still missing, according to UN figures.

At the same time last year, around 9,000 people had made the dangerous trip.

Smuggling across the Gulf of Aden normally subsides between May and September due to stormy weather.

However, Genderen-Sort attributed the high numbers to reduced working hours during Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims.

"This is the Ramadan season and smugglers are also making use of the sort of slight absence of authorities and coastal guards at the sea side," she said.