Mother of Scout who raised thousands to attend Scout Jamboree says event ‘clearly wasn’t safe’

A mother has expressed her concerns for the safety of her daughter who attended the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea. The 16-year-old Scout had managed to raise almost £3,500 through fundraising efforts over 18 months, including bake sales and car washes. However, her experience at the event turned out to be far from what she expected. Her mother reported a “perfect storm” of failures, including a lack of food and medical facilities, unsanitary toilets and showers, and a severe mosquito infestation that caused painful bites.

The Scout had been eagerly looking forward to meeting other Scouts from around the world and participating in various activities. However, as soon as her flight landed in South Korea, they were informed that the campsite was not ready and had to spend an extra night in a hotel in Seoul. Eventually, they were transferred to the campsite, but they faced extreme heat as South Korea raised its hot weather warning to the highest level. Many participants fell sick due to heat-related illnesses in the scorching temperatures.

According to the mother, the event was plagued by a lack of medical facilities and scarce food. Attendees were given only a bread roll for lunch, leaving those with dietary requirements struggling. The only fresh water available was warm and located a 15-minute walk away. The toilets were described as filthy, with no soap available, and the showers were flooded and unclean. Additionally, the campsite was infested with mosquitoes, causing severe bites. Outdoor activities were canceled due to excessive heat, which was criticized as being predictable and preventable.

As children fell sick in large numbers, the South Korean government initially insisted that the event was safe enough to continue. They later apologized for not being adequately prepared. The UK Scouts made the decision to withdraw from the event due to severe health and safety concerns, including extreme heat, food issues, and a lack of hygiene. The Scout from the East Midlands left the campsite and returned to Seoul. Although disappointed by the withdrawal, her mother fully supports the decision as it was clear that safety concerns were significant.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement stated that nearly 40,000 participants have safely departed from the campsite and are being relocated due to the expected arrival of Typhoon Khanun. The organization praised the Scouts for their leadership and teamwork in facing adversity. They expressed disappointment that adverse weather conditions had disrupted the plans.

In conclusion, the mother of a Scout who attended the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea has expressed concerns about the event’s safety. She described a range of issues, including a lack of medical facilities and food, unsanitary conditions, and extreme heat. The UK Scouts ultimately decided to withdraw from the event due to health and safety concerns. The World Organization of the Scout Movement acknowledged the challenges faced and praised the Scouts’ resilience.

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