Jamboree continues in heatwave despite scouting body’s early finish request

Thousands of Scouts from across Britain are moving to hotels amid 35C temperatures at the campsite in Buan.

Jamboree continues in heatwave despite scouting body’s request for early finish iStock

The world scouting body said it asked for the international Jamboree to end early after soaring temperatures in South Korea forced British scouts to move to hotels to escape the heat.

Temperatures have risen to 35C at the World Scout Jamboree campsite near the south-western town of Buan, where more than 40,000 scouts from around the world have gathered for the 12-day event.

Among them are around 4,500 British scouts aged 14 to 17, some of whom have needed treatment for heat-related illnesses.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) said it had asked the Korean Scout Association and the government to consider ending the 25th Jamboree early amid one of the country’s hottest summers but it was decided the event could continue.

“We have been informed that the UK Contingent has decided to leave the Jamboree camp early, allowing the scouts to continue their Jamboree experience in Seoul until they are scheduled to travel home,” a statement said.

“The host (Korean Scout Association) decided to go ahead with the event, assuring that they will do everything possible to address the issues caused by the heat wave by adding additional resources.

“We continue to call on the host and the Korean government to honour their commitments to mobilize additional financial and human resources, and to make the health and safety of the participants their top priority.”

On Friday, the UK Scout Association, which is the largest contingent at the Jamboree, said young people and adult volunteers would be moved to hotel accommodation in the country’s capital, Seoul, over the next two days to help “alleviate the pressure” on the site.

It said in a statement: “We know that may be a disappointment for some and we will continue the Jamboree experience in Seoul, working with Korean authorities on a programme of activities so our young people still get the most from their time in Korea.

“Young people will travel home as originally planned from August 13.

“While we have been on site at the Jamboree, the UK volunteer team has worked extremely hard with the organisers, for our youth members and adult volunteers to have enough food and water to sustain them, shelter from the unusually hot weather, and toilets and washing facilities appropriate for an event of this scale.”

Hundreds of American scouts could also pull out on Sunday and relocate to Camp Humphreys, a US military base near Seoul, the Associated Press reported.

An email the contingent sent to members said it was necessary to leave because of the “extreme weather and resulting conditions”.

Scouts from 158 countries are attending the Jamboree which is hosted by a different nation every four years.

At least 108 people have been treated for heat-related illnesses, most of whom have recovered, it was reported on Thursday.

Activities requiring hard physical effort have been cancelled and organisers have brought more emergency vehicles, medical staff and air conditioning to the site.

South Korea this week raised its hot weather warning to the highest “serious” level for the first time in four years.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We understand that a decision has been taken by Scouts UK to relocate British scouts from the World Scout Jamboree at SaeManGeum to Seoul.

“The Embassy remains in close contact with Scouts UK and will continue to provide support where required.”

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