The 25th World Scout Jamboree, hosted by South Korea, is facing yet another obstacle as Typhoon Khanun approaches the nation’s coast. In response to the incoming typhoon, the South Korean government has announced that all participants will be leaving the campsite in Samangeum earlier than planned. The campsite, situated on a reclaimed wetland on the southwest coast of the peninsula, will be evacuated on Tuesday.
The primary reason cited for the premature departure is the imminent arrival of Typhoon Khanun. The Korea Scout Association, the host of the event, also mentioned “ongoing weather conditions” as another factor behind the decision to leave the main campsite. The Korea Meteorological Administration predicts that the typhoon will make landfall on the southeastern coast on Thursday morning.
Ahmad Alhendawi, the secretary general of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, described the event as “unlucky” due to the series of setbacks it has faced. He expressed astonishment at the occurrence of multiple extreme weather patterns within such a short period. Alhendawi mentioned that the scouts would be mobilizing in advance of the storm. However, the destination to which they will relocate is still being deliberated.
The government has announced a jamboree “contingency plan” to move the participants to regions that are not likely to be affected by the typhoon. Additionally, the presidential office has called upon local governments to step up and host activities for the remaining days of the scouts’ stay in South Korea. Suggestions include visits to the National Palace Museum and Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, which are offering discounts and free admission to scouts. Other activities include traditional cultural performances in Jeonju, located in the southeast-central area of the country.
The World Scout Jamboree has been plagued by various issues in the past week. More than 43,000 teenagers from 158 countries traveled to South Korea to attend the festivities, but over 138 people were hospitalized due to heat exhaustion. The scouting organizations from the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the United States left the event shortly after it started to engage in activities in other parts of the country. Furthermore, a South Korean contingent withdrew from the jamboree, claiming mishandling of allegations of a sex offense on the campgrounds.
To combat the heatwave, the government has arranged for air-conditioned buses and trucks for the participants. A K-pop concert that was scheduled for the weekend has been postponed to the last day of the jamboree, Friday. Despite the challenges faced, the jamboree has started to gain momentum in recent days, reflecting the spirit and essence of the annual gathering, according to Mr. Alhendawi. He emphasized the resilience of the young scouts in dealing with the multiple problems encountered throughout the week.