On Monday the World Organization of the Scout Movement confirmed that tens of thousands of scouts from around the world would leave the event’s campsite on a tidal flat at Saemangeum beside the Yellow Sea in South Korea due to the approach of Typhoon Khanun.
The scouts are being relocated to the country’s capital Seoul where the event will continue.
The latest development comes after a record heatwave in South Korea prompted the national government to intervene, bringing in 132 additional air conditioned buses and 69 more shade canopies, which were installed by the military. Local businesses also donated 1.68 million bottles of water and electrolyte drinks and 10,000 cans of insect repellent. Two hundred large electric fans were also provided and eight water playgrounds were installed throughout the campsite.
Indicating issues beyond just the heat – which had the ABC reporting at least 600 young people had been treated for heat-related illnesses at 43,000 pax event – Jamboree organisers said the electricity supply to the campsite had been increased and additional nighttime lighting had been installed, while the national government confirmed they had sent an additional 930 cleaning staff to the campsite.
The US and UK scout contingents left the main campsite in advance of the full evacuation due to the typhoon, with the chief executive of Scouts UK, Matt Hyde, saying the decision to relocate 4,500 British scouts and adult volunteers was due to safety concerns.
“We were particularly concerned about sanitation and the cleanliness of toilets that were causing severe concerns from us from a health and safety point of view,” said Hyde.
“In addition to that we were worried about food and those with dietary requirements in particular, and the amount of food that was available.
“We were concerned also about the heat. It’s punishingly hot in Korea – it’s an unprecedented heatwave – but we were concerned about the heat relief measures that were being put in place. And finally, we were concerned about medical services.
“And those four areas gave us concerns about whether young people and adult volunteers were safe. And that’s why we’ve relocated…our Jamboree journey to here in Seoul.
“We are disappointed in the organisers and the organisation, and we do feel let down,” he said.