SEOUL -- The World Organization of the Scout Movement, the main international Scouting organization, has said that it plans an early departure of participants from a massive Jamboree site located on the southwestern coast of South Korea due to Typhoon Khanun, described as "very strong" that is expected to hit the southern coast of the Korean peninsula and move northwards this week.
The 25th World Scout Jamboree held in Saemangeum, a reclaimed land area some 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Seoul, was kicked off on August 1 to host some 43,000 people including Scouts and Girl Guides from 158 countries. However, people participating in the event that was scheduled to close on August 12 faced an unexpected situation where everything -- food, water, electricity, hygiene, and infrastructure such as drainage systems and toilets -- was unprepared.
To make things worse, a series of heat waves struck South Korea, leaving more than 400 participants suffering from heat-related illnesses. Also, Saemangeum's massive camping sites were easily flooded after rain due to a lack of drainage systems, and puddles of water were left on the ground, turning the ground into a gigantic mud pit. Meals that were provided to Scout members were of low quality and some were spoiled due to hot weather.
The South Korean government promised to take proper actions to normalize the global Scouting gathering and promised to hold a K-pop concert to boost the moods of young participants but contingents from Britain and the United States decided to pull out a week early due to extreme weather conditions. Britain has the largest contingent at 4,500cparticipants while the U.S. has a contingent that consists of about 1,500 people.
"The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) received confirmation this morning from the Government of the Republic of Korea that due to the expected impact of Typhoon Khanun, an early departure will be planned for all participants at the 25th World Scout Jamboree from the campsite in SaeManGeum," the WOSM said in a statement released through its official website on July 7. The World Scouting Organization said that the South Korean government will soon provide details about the early departure plans and provide all necessary resources and support.
South Korea's "Organizing Committee for the 25th World Scout Jamboree - 22023 SaeManGeum" told Aju Korea Daily that they were not informed of such an early departure plan for Jamboree participants. The organizing committee did not comment on the current condition of the participants.
According to data released by South Korea's weather service, Typhoon Khanun involving strong winds and torrential rain will travel through the southern part of South Korea on August 10.
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