Guernsey Press

Scouts evacuated from South Korean camp site

GUERNSEY Scouts in South Korea are all safe but will be evacuating the camp site following the country’s hottest weather in four years.

The group of local Scouts pictured at a training camp at Rue Maingy in 2022 in preparation for this year’s World Scout Jamboree in South Korea. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32393572)

Nine scouts and their unit leader have travelled nearly 6,000 miles for the World Scout Jamboree, but a heatwave has meant they will evacuate Saemangeum – the area of reclaimed land near the city of Buan.

Hundreds of participants have fallen ill due to the extreme heat and humidity, but Bailiwick commissioner Andy Snell said that all Guernsey Scouts were safe.

‘There has been some developments over the last couple of days but all of the Guernsey participants are safe, and the entire UK contingent is moving to accommodation in Seoul,’ he said.

About 4,500 British Scouts and their leaders, the largest contingent of the event, will be moving accommodation over the next two days in the 35C-plus temperatures.

Korean Jamboree organisers have arranged additional water trucks, deployed more nurses and doctors, and modified the itinerary of the event accordingly.

The move followed an order from South Korea’s president to dispatch an unlimited supply of air conditioned buses and refrigerator trucks to provide relief from the 8.8sq. km of unsheltered land.

‘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,’ said the UK contingent.

‘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.’

The event attracted about 40,000 participants aged between 14 and 18 from 158 different countries in the first international Jamboree post-pandemic.

Event organisers are facing mounting criticism for poor preparation of the mass camp site, which followed reports of lack of shelter and sanitation, and being plagued by mosquitoes.

Local Scouts had to raise approximately £4,000 each to take part in the trip.

The Jamboree runs until 12 August. The UK contingent, including Guernsey Scouts, will travel home on 13 August as planned.