The World Scout Jamboree, held in South Korea and attended by more than 40,000 youth from 155 countries, has turned into an utter debacle, as thousands of Scouts have gotten sick from excessive heat and a COVID-19 outbreak. News from over the weekend revealed that the event quickly devolved into a kind of nightmare scenario that sounds to me a lot like the Scouting version of Fyre Festival. Korea JoongAng Daily reported yesterday:
The World Scout Jamboree was supposed to be a major international celebration and a boost for Korea's bid for the World Expo in Busan.
Instead, it turned into a fiasco as nations start to pull out of the event.
It all began when Britain announced Friday that it was withdrawing its team from the Jamboree site in Saemangeum, Buan County, North Jeolla to hotels in Seoul to "alleviate pressure on the site."
The United States and Singapore soon announced that they, too, would be pulling out their scouts.
Prompting the withdrawals were health concerns, especially for scouts aged 14 to 17, many of whom had fallen ill from the scorching heat as temperatures hovered close to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
At least 2,500 scouts had fallen sick as of Sunday.
Common ailments include bug bites, skin rashes and heat exhaustion. To make matters worse, a Covid-19 outbreak has been raging at the site since Thursday.
With the World Scout Jamboree in shambles, more countries may decide to withdraw their scouts as health concerns mount.
Over the weekend, thousands of Scouts relocated or left the Jamboree altogether, and now the remaining scouts are being evacuated due to a looming typhoon. BBC News reports:
World Scout Jamboree organisers said on Monday that the South Korean government told them it was no longer safe to hold the event.
The government said it had listened to the concerns of the World Organisation for Scout Movements and national delegations, who had been requesting they close the site for days.
From Tuesday at 10:00 local time (01:00GMT), some 36,000 people still in Saemangeum will be taken by bus to safer areas, South Korea's vice minister for disaster and safety management, Kim Sung-ho, has said.
The event "is still continuing," but "the location is only changing because of the natural disaster," he added.
Officials are seeking alternative venues and accommodation in and around Seoul.
Severe Tropical Storm Khanun, which has already forced evacuations and cut off power to thousands in Japan, is forecast to reach South Korea's southern Jeolla province on Thursday.
Originally classified as a typhoon, the weather system has weakened but is still bringing high winds and torrential rain to the region.
Heatwaves have become more frequent, more intense, and last longer because of human-induced climate change. Increased sea surface temperatures also mean storms are likely to be more intense and bring more extreme rainfall.
It's hard to see how the event will continue, but I guess we'll know more soon. I thought the Scout motto was "Be Prepared"? All joking aside, I hope everyone gets home safe and sound.