One hundred and fifty unaccompanied minors currently at Pournara are to be transferred to other accommodation units in Famagusta, while the interior ministry said that 317 irregular migrants had arrived in the Republic within the past 24 hours.
According to deputy minister of social welfare, Anastasia Anthousi, following the decisions of the meeting held last Monday under the president on the issues being faced in Pournara and damning reports on the conditions there, the cabinet on Wednesday approved the transfer of 150 minors.
“Today the council of ministers has approved the provision of accommodation in the free areas of Famagusta, where the 150 unaccompanied minors, who have not fully completed their procedures – that is, some procedures such as age assessment – are to be transferred immediately, so that the procedures can be completed there” the minister said.
At the same time, she said the government will ask for expressions of interest for staffing at the new accommodation so that the minors can be afforded the necessary care.
Anthousi said that a decision is expected soon as meetings will be held with all involved services and departments in order to arrange the smooth transportation of the minors at the beginning of next week.
Pournara hit the headlines over the past week over the living conditions especially for unaccompanied minors there, prompting a visit to the facility by President Nicos Anastasiades, which was followed by a high-level meeting that decided on a series of steps to ease overcrowding of both the adult population and of unaccompanied minors.
His visit came days after dozens of minors had left the centre and camped near a church in Nicosia to protest over living conditions.
And while the government and the interior ministry have been criticised for the situation at Pournara, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Wednesday emphasised that Turkey is instrumentalising the plight of those who are seeking a better life – by allowing them to arrive en masse in the north and cross over the Green Line into the government-controlled areas.
He added that within the past 24 hours alone there have been 317 migrants arriving in the Republic via the north, of whom 292 are single men aged up to 40 years.
The minister argued that Turkey’s instrumentalisation is clear, as most of those arriving have done so with a stop-off at Istanbul airport with Tymbou (Ercan) airport in the north listed as the final destination. Furthermore, they often have 60-day visas for the north.