Greece Says It Needs a Year to Properly Shelter Migrant Children

(AFP) – Greece will need a year to provide adequate shelter for 2,200 unaccompanied migrant children on its soil, even if it has improved its response, the country’s migration minister said Tuesday. Yannis Mouzalas said there were now no more than 25 minors held in Greek police stations and 1,000 hosted in various specialised facilities. But most of the unaccompanied migrant children, some 1,200, are still staying in camps scattered across Greek islands in the eastern Aegean sea. “It would be lying to say a solution will be found in under six months. We think a year is necessary,” Mouzalas said during the opening of shelter for 100 such children in Paiania, a suburb of Athens. Five percent of 2,200 are under eight years old, while 80 percent are over 15. The minister said the top priority was to provide “safe places” for the children where they enjoy a minimum of protection against threats such as traffickers, the minister said. In September, the European Union and human rights organisations called on Greece to improve shelter for unaccompanied migrant childen, saying many were held in squalid conditions. Also in September, the EU announced 115 million euros in extra funding for Greece’s