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Title Approaching typhoon deals Jamboree campsite a final blow
  • Korea SIM card (ip:)
  • 2023-08-08 10:54:41
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Approaching typhoon deals Jamboree campsite a final blow

British scouts sit in the shade of a pavilion inside Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on Monday. The British contingent was the first to announce its departure from the World Scout Jamboree campsite in Buan County, North Jeolla. [YONHAP]

British scouts sit in the shade of a pavilion inside Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on Monday. The British contingent was the first to announce its departure from the World Scout Jamboree campsite in Buan County, North Jeolla. [YONHAP]

In a last-ditch effort to salvage a World Scout Jamboree unprepared for the ongoing heat wave, Korea’s government and major companies threw all available resources at the troubled campsite, including air-conditioned buses, military canopies, and an army of cleaning personnel and medical staff.

But in the end, news of an approaching typhoon dealt a final blow to the venue.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) announced that remaining delegations at the 25th World Scout Jamboree in North Jeolla will leave the festival’s campsite early due to forecasts of torrential showers brought on by Typhoon Khanun.

The typhoon is currently expected to make landfall in southeastern Korea on Thursday.

According to the WOSM, “an early departure will be planned for all participants at the 25th World Scout Jamboree from the campsite” in southern Korea “due to the expected impact of Typhoon Khanun.”

Over 43,000 scouts, volunteers and staff from 158 countries have gathered at the Jamboree, which is often described as the largest youth camp in the world.

But hundreds have fallen ill with heat exhaustion and other ailments this past week, giving rise to withering criticism that the event’s organizing committee failed to make adequate preparations to hold the festival at Saemangeum, a reclaimed estuarine tidal flat with little shade, as temperatures across the country soared above 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit).

The WOSM said that the Korean government has informed the organization that “they will soon provide details of the departure plans and the venues that will host the participants.”

The organization said it “urgently” calls on the Korean government “to expedite the plan for departure and provide all necessary resources and support for participants during their stay and until they return to their home countries.”

The WOSM’s statement came after the Australian scout contingent decided overnight Sunday to exit the Jamboree venue in Saemangeum before the typhoon’s arrival.

The Australian delegation is the fifth to announce its departure from the Jamboree campsite, following that of the British contingent on Friday night, the U.S. and Singaporean delegations on Saturday, and the North Jeolla scouting association on Sunday.

The British scouting contingent, which is the largest foreign delegation at the Jamboree with around 4,500 participants, relocated to hotel accommodation in Seoul over the weekend, while the 1,500-strong U.S. contingent moved to Camp Humphreys, a U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, on Sunday.

The 67-member Singaporean scout delegation has relocated to a training center in Daejeon before heading to Seoul to join British counterparts for activities like visiting tourist attractions, according to the Singapore Scouting Association.

Choi Chang-haeng, the Jamboree committee’s secretary general, said the organizers had secured over 340 accommodation venues for participants, including gyms and community centers in Buan County, where the Saemangeum campsite is located.

According to Yonhap News Agency, scouts at the campsite will begin leaving on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, local authorities across Korea had already begun organizing alternative tourism programs to accommodate an expected influx of scouts leaving the beleaguered Saemangeum campsite.

British scouts watch the changing of the guards at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on Monday. [YONHAP]

British scouts watch the changing of the guards at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on Monday. [YONHAP]

The Seoul Metropolitan Government, which is already playing host to the British scout contingent, said Monday late afternoon that it had found enough accommodation facilities, including hotels, dormitories and other community centers, to lodge over 15,000 Jamboree participants in response to requests for cooperation from the event’s organizing committee and the central government.

To accommodate the visiting scouts, who are scheduled to depart Korea on Aug. 13, the city pulled up the opening of the Sejong Summer Festival at Gwanghwamun Plaza to Aug. 10 and is currently drawing up tourism and cultural immersion programs that visiting scouts can participate in.

The Busan municipal government and tourism board have also made plans to host up to 10,000 scouts and guide them through the city’s seaside attractions, including Haeundae Beach and Taejongdae Cliff.

At the request of the Jamboree’s organizing committee, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has opened around 170 of its temples nationwide to allow camping or lodging by visiting scouts, who will also be able to undertake temple stay programs.

Questions also hang over the venue of the K-Pop concert originally scheduled to take place at Saemangeum this past Sunday, but which has since been postponed to Friday, the date of the Jamboree’s closing ceremony.

On Monday, Bang Moon-kyu, the minister for government policy coordination, toured the 42,000-seat World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla, which was originally announced as the new location of the concert the previous day by Park Bo-gyoon, the minister of culture, sports and tourism.

The stadium was offered as a concert venue by the Hyundai Motor group, which owns the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors football club that plays there. The company has also begun running tours of its Jeonju automobile plant to scouts from other countries, which are expected to run until Thursday.

But the Jamboree’s organizing committee said in a press release on Monday that it is considering the World Cup Stadium in Mapo District, western Seoul as another alternative.

The Seoul World Cup Stadium has a higher seating capacity of 66,700 and a more extensive canopy than the Jeonju stadium.

BY MICHAEL LEE [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]

Source : https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2023/08/07/national/socialAffairs/Korea-Jamboree/20230807140606929.html

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