News Update


As a storm approaches, all scouts in South Korea leave their base.

Due to an impending tropical storm, thousands of scouts at an international tournament in South Korea are being evacuated from a campsite.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom, have already evacuated, blaming the camp’s high temperatures and poor hygienic conditions.

UK Scouts chief executive Matt Hyde stated the organisers had let him down and that UK activities had been pushed back years.

He told the BBC that the site had become a health hazard.

The World Scout Jamboree, which drew over 40,000 young people from 155 countries, has been beset by issues from its inception.

Hundreds of people had become unwell in the 35C (95F) heat, with scouts from the United Kingdom among those suffering from heat exhaustion.

Last Monday, the largest group of 4,500 people gathered at the campsite in Saemangeum, near the town of Buan.

Over the weekend, they were relocated to hotels in Seoul, where they will remain until the completion of the jamboree on August 12.

According to Mr. Hyde, the relocation will cost the UK Scout Association well over £1 million from its reserves.

“We had commitments to those reserves, which will, of course, mean that we can’t now do things that we wanted to do over the next three to five years,” he explained.

The United States and Singapore have also removed their teams from the training.

The World Scout Jamboree organizers said on Monday that the South Korean authorities informed them that the event was no longer safe to hold.

The government stated that it had listened to the World Organization for Scout Movements and national delegations, who had requested that the site be closed for several days.

According to South Korea’s vice minister for disaster and safety management, Kim Sung-ho, approximately 36,000 people who remain in Saemangeum will be bused to safer places beginning Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. local time (01:00 a.m. GMT).

The event “is still going on,” he said, but “the location is only changing because of the natural disaster.”

Officials are looking for alternative venues and lodging in and around Seoul.

Severe Tropical Storm Khanun, which has already forced evacuations and power outages in Japan, is expected to make landfall in South Korea’s southern Jeolla province on Thursday.

The weather system, which was once categorized as a typhoon, has diminished but continues to bring severe gusts and copious rain to the region.

Because of human-caused climate change, heatwaves have become more common, more intense, and stay longer. Storms will be more powerful and bring more extreme rainfall as sea surface temperatures rise.

A straightforward guide to climate change
Following the temperature in South Korea, British scouts have relocated to motels.
On Saturday, coaches carrying British kids began arriving in Seoul, around 120 miles (197 kilometers) from the campground, where they would spend the next week in hotels till.

Mr. Hyde stated that the UK contingent was focused on running a “engaging program” for their capital’s young people.

He claimed that the organisers let the UK Scouts down after numerous complaints were voiced about the site’s circumstances. While some progress was made, it was “too little, too late.”

He noted that conditions have crossed four red lines: a lack of shade, a shortage of food for individuals with dietary needs, bad sanitation, and insufficient medical care.

“We were promised that things would be put in place, but they weren’t,” he claimed.

“If you can imagine [toilets] being used by thousands and thousands of people and not being cleared with the regularity you would expect, you can imagine the sort of things that people were seeing.”

He estimated that each British scout had spent roughly £3500 on the trip, with many dependent on donations.

The Covid epidemic may have influenced event planning, according to Mr Hyde, who added that it was “critical” that an impartial inquiry be conducted.

Concerns about the event were raised two weeks earlier, according to one parent, when torrential rain hit and swamped Saemangeum, a reclaimed tidal flat.

“How on earth are you going to go from a flooded site to something adequate and going to provide this superb experience the kids have been looking forward to?” questioned Vincent Blood, whose daughter became ill at the event.

“Our concerns have now been validated.”

According to the BBC, some scouts are now sharing five rooms, and up to 250 people spent the night in the ballroom of one Seoul hotel due to a lack of adequate lodging. All of them now have hotel rooms.

Kim Gi-hyeon, the leader of the country’s ruling People’s Power Party, apologized publicly on Monday and urged a probe into whether taxpayers’ money was well spent on preparations.

The jamboree, billed as the world’s largest youth camp, brings together scouts from all over the world every four years, in a different location.


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