The U.S., British and Singaporean contingents have left the campsite of the World Scout Jamboree amid a heatwave in South Korea. Photo by Yonhap
Aug. 5 (UPI) — The U.S., British and Singaporean contingents say they have left the World Scout Jamboree campsite in South Korea as a sweltering heatwave blanketed the country on Saturday.
About 43,000 scouts from 158 countries gathered for the event but the soaring temperatures resulted in at least 600 teenagers requiring medical treatment as of Thursday, officials said.
The 4,500 scouts from Britain represented the largest contingent at the Jamboree.
Temperatures rose past 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some South Korean regions as the most significant heatwave to hit the country in four years took its toll.
“We know that may be a disappointment for some and we will continue the jamboree experience in Seoul, working with Korean authorizes on a program of activities so our young people still get the most from their time in Korea,” the British Scouts said in a statement Saturday.
“The U.S. contingent to the World Scout Jamboree has made the difficult decision that we will be departing the 25th World Scout Jamboree site early because of ongoing extreme weather and resulting conditions at the jamboree site,” the U.S. scouts in an email to parents obtained by The Guardian.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement urged Korean authorities to mobilize resources to address the effect of the heatwave on scouts.
“We continue to call on the host and the Korean government to honor their commitments to mobilize additional financial and human resources, and to make the health and safety of participants their top priority,” the WOSM said.
On Thursday, the secretary general of the Jamboree’s organizing committee, Choi Chang-haeng, said enthusiasm for musical acts may have contributed to heat related health issues.
The South Korean government held a meeting and decided to continue the event, Prime Minster Han Duck-soo said, while insisting the authorities had provided “sufficient” support.
“The representatives held a meeting and decided to continue to proceed with the event without a pause,” said Han, according to the Yonhap news agency.
South Korean authorities say they have mobilized 104 extra airconditioned buses, 60 extra medical professionals, and 700 personnel to manage shower facilities to help mitigate the heat.