More than triple the number of lone children applied for asylum in the EU in 2015 compared to the year before, official figures have revealed.
Nearly 90,000 unaccompanied minors sought refuge in the 28 member states- a massive increase compared with 23,160 recorded in 2014.
This means there were 243 claims every day.
The total of 88,695 applications registered in 2015 is more than eight times the number seen in 2010.
Around one in eight – or 11,780 – of the applicants were children aged under 14, while the majority – more than 50,000 – were aged 16 or 17.
Afghans accounted for the highest number, with 45,205 – half of the total – and a rise of almost 700% compared with the previous year.
Syrian children made up 15% of the total number, with 13,380 from the war-ravaged country – more than four times the number recorded in 2014 – followed by Eritrea (5,140), Iraq (4,570) and Somalia (3,555), while the country of citizenship was “unknown” for nearly 3,000 applicants.