The World Scout Jamboree in South Korea has been hit hard by scorching temperatures, prompting American and British scouts to abandon the event. The extreme heatwave has caused hundreds of scouts to fall ill, leading to concerns about the dire campsite conditions.
Approximately 43,000 people had gathered in North Jeolla province for the jamboree, but the overwhelming heat has taken a toll on participants. In response, the Seoul government dispatched military doctors and pledged full efforts to salvage the event.
Despite assurances from the South Korean government, the US and UK contingents decided to withdraw from the jamboree. The American scouts are heading to Camp Humphreys, a US Army garrison in Pyeongtaek.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement has called on South Korea to consider shortening the event, which was scheduled to run until August 12 in the coastal town of Buan. The country is experiencing one of its hottest summers in years.
Reports have also emerged of poor campsite conditions, with inadequate sanitation facilities and concerns about insect bites plaguing the scouts. A Korean-American parent shared a harrowing experience, stating that their 15-year-old daughter lost consciousness during the event, and an ambulance took 45 minutes to arrive at the site.
Furthermore, an outbreak of Covid-19 at the jamboree site has added to the challenges faced by the organizers.
The exit of the British, American, and other scout troops poses a significant public relations setback for the South Korean government. President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office has allocated 6.9 billion won ($5.3 million) in support of the jamboree and urged organizers to enhance tourism programs for the scouts.
Authorities from participating countries are meeting to decide how to proceed in light of the ongoing crisis. With Covid-19 cases and extreme weather conditions at play, the situation has been dubbed a “national disgrace” by local media, raising concerns about the country’s preparations for such a large-scale event.