South Korea’s Scout Jamboree cut short amidst heatwave, typhoon threat

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South Korea’s World Scout Jamboree has been cut short due to a looming typhoon threat. Organizers are making preparations to evacuate tens of thousands of scouts from a coastal campsite in response to the approaching storm. This decision comes after thousands of scouts had already left the jamboree site in southwestern Buan county because of a severe heatwave.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement received confirmation from the South Korean government regarding the impact of Typhoon Khanun, leading to an early departure plan for all participants. Urgent calls have been made to expedite the departure and provide necessary resources and support for the scouts during their stay and return to their home countries.

Initially, the Jamboree kicked off with approximately 40,000 scouts from 158 countries, including significant contingents from the United Kingdom and the United States. However, as hundreds of scouts fell ill due to extreme heat at the tree-less campsite, some groups, such as the British and American contingents, had to withdraw over the weekend.

The government and organizers worked diligently to salvage the event by providing water trucks, air-conditioned spaces, and medical support. Various businesses also pitched in, donating tents, water, and ice cream, and the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism opened its temples to the scouts. Despite these efforts, the impending typhoon threat has forced more groups, including the Australian scout contingent, to evacuate the campsite.

South Korea’s weather agency predicts that the region will be impacted by the storm as early as Wednesday. As a precaution, President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office called for contingency plans, which may involve relocating the scouts to hotels and facilities in Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas. To ensure the safety of the scouts, Choi Chang-haeng, the secretary-general of the organizing committee, has secured over 340 evacuation venues, including community centers and gyms, in regions near Buan.

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