Northern Ireland scouts among those evacuated from world jamboree site in South Korea as tropical storm approaches
and live on Freeview channel 276
Tens of thousands of scouts – including more than 4,000 from the UK – were forced to flee from their campsite as Tropical Storm Khanun looms.
However, one Scout leader, speaking in a video posted on the official Scouts website, said there were also serious concerns around the cleanliness of the toilet facilities, “the amount of food that was available,” and “the heat relief measures that were being put in place” and the available medical services.
"We do feel let down, but the jamboree journey continues for us,” he said.
Among the UK contingent is a group of 36 young people from all over Northern Ireland who call themselves ‘The Wee Buns’. There are also 19 adult volunteers from the province who are part of the International Service Team (IST).
Their parent organisation – UK Scouts – said: “UK Scouts has transferred our young people and adult volunteers from the Jamboree site at SaeManGeum to Seoul.
“They all arrived in Seoul on Sunday, August 6. This follows announcing our plans to transfer from the site on Friday, August 4. The UK contingent have now been allocated their accommodation. The UK Embassy has been welcoming them as they arrive.
“The UK Embassy and the mayor of Seoul are also supporting the UK team with developing programme activities so our young people still get the most from the rest of their Jamboree experience in South Korea.
“We know leaving the Jamboree site may be a disappointment for some, but we will continue the Jamboree experience in Seoul. 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.”
South Korea’s weather agency reported that Khanun was about 205 miles north-east of the Japanese island of Okinawa as of 9am local time yesterday. It was expected to make landfall in South Korea on Thursday morning, packing high winds.
Large swathes of the country’s south, including Buan, could be affected by the storm as early as tomorrow, the agency said.
President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office said he called for “contingency” plans, which could include relocating the scouts to hotels and other facilities in the country’s capital, Seoul, and nearby metropolitan areas.
Hot temperatures have already forced thousands of British and American scouts to leave the site, which is made on land reclaimed from sea. Hundreds of participants had been treated for heat-related ailments since the jamboree started on Wednesday.
Long before the event’s start, critics raised concerns about bringing such large numbers of young people to a vast, treeless area lacking protection from the summer heat.