A child eats a sandwich at a makeshift camp for refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni on April 27, 2016. (AFP photo)
The European Union
)’s statistics agency, Eurostat, says some 88,300 unaccompanied minors traveled without their parents in 2015 to seek refuge in the 28-nation bloc.
According to a Eurostat’s report released on Monday, more than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa reached Europe
last year, which was roughly double the 2014 figure.
It said minors made up about a third of the 1.26 million first-time asylum applications filed in the EU last year.
More than 90 percent of the minors crossing continents without a parent or guardian were boys and more than half of them were between 16 and 17 years old, according to the report.
Sweden, Germany, Hungary and Austria have been identified as the main destinations for unaccompanied underage asylum seekers.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.Over 183,000 asylum seekers have reached Europe via the Mediterranean so far this year, while over 1,200 people died in their journey to the continent, according to the latest figures by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.
In March, Turkey and the EU sealed a controversial deal intended to stem the flow of refugees from Syria and other troubled countries to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.