Tens of thousands to be evacuated from World Scout Jamboree

The Chief Executive of UK Scouts said they feel 'disappointed and let down' by the organisers of the World Scout Jamboree, ITV News' Bairbre Holmes reports

Tens of thousands of scouts are to be evacuated from the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea due to concerns about an approaching tropical storm.

In a statement, The World Organisation of the Scout Movement said the government confirmed all participants would leave the jamboree campsite in SaeManGeum as Typhoon Khanun looms.

Starting on Tuesday morning, South Korea will deploy more than 1,000 buses to pull out some 36,000 scouts from 156 countries from the jamboree in Buan, according to Kim Sung-ho, a vice minister at South Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety.

He said most of the scouts will be accommodated at venues in the country’s capital, Seoul, and the surrounding areas.

Kim said it would take six hours or more to evacuate the scouts from the campsite, which organisers said will no longer be used for any event after they leave.

The event was hosted on land reclaimed from the sea Credit: Yonhap via AP

The announcement came after The World Organisation of the Scout Movement said it urgently called on South Korea to quickly move the scouts from the storm’s path and “provide all necessary resources and support for participants during their stay and until they return to their home countries.”

South Korea’s weather agency reported Khanun was expected to make landfall in South Korea on Thursday morning, potentially bringing winds as strong as 73 to 95 miles per hour.

The south of the country, including Buan, could be affected by the storm as early as Wednesday, the agency said.

The typhoon has caused heavy rain, power outages, and travel disruption in Japan. On Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said winds reached 67 miles per hour with highest gusts as it brushed Japan’s main island of Kyushu this week.

The storm has caused one death and 70 injuries on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, according to the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

It follows controversy about conditions at the campsite in SaeManGeum on the South West coast of South Korea.

Hundreds of participants had been treated for heat-related ailments since the jamboree started on Wednesday.

Long before the event started, critics raised concerns about bringing such large numbers of young people to a vast, treeless area lacking protection from the summer heat.

The UK contingent pulled out of the international event last week, followed by the US, Singapore and Australia.

In an interview with ITV News earlier this morning, the Chief Executive of UK Scouts Matt Hyde said they feel “disappointed” and “let down” by the organisers of the World Scout Jamboree.

He said a number of issues on the campsite meant it was no longer safe for the 4,500 scouts from the UK.

Chief Executive of UK Scouts spoke to ITV News' Lauren Hall - his first interview since the UK contingent pulled out of the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea

He explained there were problems with sanitation, food and medical care. He said the heatwave was also a cause for concern and questioned whether enough was being done to protect scouts from the hot weather.

“As the event went on, we became more concerned about those conditions and that’s the reason why we took action before it became serious” he said.

“We are disappointed and feel let down by the organisers. We raised these concerns repeatedly, we had reassurances that things were going to be put in place, but I’m afraid it was too little, too late.”

The organisers of the World Scout Jamboree had previously given assurances that it was safe enough and that additional measures were being put in place, including more medical staff and more protection from the hot weather.

The UK contingent were brought back to the capital city Seoul last weekend Credit: Yonhap via AP

About 40,000 scouts - mostly teenagers - from 158 countries came to the jamboree, built on land reclaimed from the sea. About 4,500 were from the UK, representing the largest national contingent.

UK scouts arrived in Seoul yesterday where they will continue the jamboree experience, UK Scouts said in a statement.

They will travel home on 13 August as originally planned.

The US scouts were moved to a US military base, Camp Humphreys, 45 miles south of Seoul.

The Swedish news agency TT said some 1,500 scouts from Sweden will be relocated to Camp Humphreys along with Norwegian and Danish scouts.

Geir Olav Kaase, leader of the 700-member Norwegian contingent, said Norwegian scouts had already started leaving the campsite on Monday evening to “avoid any chaos that may arise in the event of a joint evacuation.”

"We do all we can to ensure that the scouts are safe and well, and that the transfer goes as smoothly as possible. We help each other and keep our spirits up,” Kaase said in a statement.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.