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British scouts to leave South Korean Jamboree site after 100 participants suffer heat ailments

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August 4, 2023
By The Associated Press

Global OHS News Heat Scouts South Korea

(UMB-O/Adobe Stock)

By Kim Tong-hyung

More than 4,000 British Scouts will leave the World Scout Jamboree at a campsite in South Korea and move into hotels this weekend, the U.K. Scout Association said Friday, as concerns grow after more than 100 participants were treated for heat-related ailments.

The pullout of the Jamboree’s largest national contingent was announced hours after South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol promised an “unlimited supply” of air-conditioned buses and refrigerator trucks to provide chilled water to the site in the southwestern town of Buan. South Korea has been grappling with one of its hottest summers in years during the event, which started Wednesday.

“We will start moving our people to hotel accommodation over the next two days. As we are the largest contingent, our hope is that this helps alleviate the pressure on the site overall,” the U.K. Scout Association said in a statement.

“We will continue the Jamboree experience in Seoul, working with Korean authorities on a program of activities so our young people still get the most from their time in Korea.”

About 40,000 scouts, mostly teenagers, from 158 countries are participating in the Jamboree at a campsite built on land reclaimed from the sea. About 4,500 are from the U.K.


Organizers on Thursday said at least 108 people had been treated for heat-related illnesses.

Long before the start of the event, critics had raised concerns about bringing that many young people to a vast, treeless area lacking protection from the summer heat.

South Korea this week raised its hot weather warning to the highest “serious” level for the first time in four years, and temperatures around the country hovered between 35 and 38 degrees Celsius (95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday. According to South Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety, at least 19 people have died from heat-related illnesses across the country since May 20.

The Jamboree’s organizers and South Korean government officials have been scrambling to continue the event, canceling activities requiring hard physical effort and bringing more emergency vehicles, medical staff and air conditioning to the site.

The Foreign Ministry formed a special taskforce on Friday to address concerns raised by foreign diplomatic offices over the safety of the event.


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