Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Gib Scouts evacuated from South Korea jamboree amid heatwave

Matt Hyde Chief Executive of Scouts speaking about the 25th World Scout Jamboree in Korea after UK Scouts will face an impact on its activities for up to five years after spending £1 million evacuating youngsters from the world jamboree in South Korea amid a heatwave. Photo by Scouts/YouTube/PA Wire

A group of Gibraltar Scouts have been evacuated from the World Scout Jamboree held at SaeManGeum in South Korea and moved to a hotel in Seoul amid a heatwave and concern at the sanitary conditions at the site.

The group of eight youngsters and one adult leader left Gibraltar on July 26 to join the Lincolnshire “Bangers” to form Unit 14 for the 25th World Scout Jamboree, which was due to take place in SaeManGeum in Joellabuk-do from August 1 to 12.

They formed part of the UK contingent which included 4,500 Scouts and adult volunteers.

But the trip was cut short and the youngsters were evacuated from the World Jamboree at the weekend amid a heatwave and concerns about sanitary conditions at the jamboree site, availability of food, medical services, and the “punishing heat”.

A spokesman for Scout UK told the Chronicle that the Gibraltar group are doing well since they moved to Seoul.

“They are taking part in a new diverse and vibrant programme in the city of Seoul,” the spokesman said.

“And they will return home on August 13 as originally planned.”

The UK contingent, including Gibraltar, have now been allocated their accommodation, and the UK Embassy has been welcoming them as they arrive, Scout UK said.

The UK Embassy and the Mayor of Seoul are also supporting the UK team with developing programme activities so that the young people still get the most from the rest of their Jamboree experience in South Korea.

This includes trekking, bus tours and cultural exchanges that have been organised.

Temperatures rose to 35C at the World Scout Jamboree campsite near the south-western town of Buan, where more than 40,000 Scouts from around the world gathered for the 12-day event.

South Korean officials have now ordered an early departure of all participants as a typhoon threatens to sweep across the area.

However Matt Hyde, UK Scouts’ Chief Executive, said he feels “let down” by the jamboree’s South Korean organisers.

He told the BBC: “We had commitments to those reserves that will of course mean that we can’t now do things that we wanted to do over the next three to five years.”

“We feel let down by the organisers because we repeatedly raised some of these concerns before we went, and during, and we were promised things were going to be put in place and they weren’t.”

“We’ve just relocated 4,500 young people and adult volunteers away from the jamboree site to here in Seoul,” Mr Hyde added.

“They’re all in hotel rooms.”

“We were concerned about young people and adult volunteer safety.”

“We were particularly concerned about sanitation and cleanliness of the toilets.”

“We were worried about food.”

“We were concerned about the heat – it’s punishingly hot here in Korea.”

“We were concerned about the heat relief measures that have been put in place.”

“We were also concerned about medical services.”

“We’re disappointed in the organisers and the organisation.”

“We do feel let down.”

“I am truly inspired by the response of our adult volunteers and our young people.”

For its part, No.6 Convent Place at the weekend said the Government of Gibraltar is closely monitoring the situation at the 25th World Scout Jamboree.

“The Government will remain in close contact with Gibraltar Scouts in order to monitor developments and offer whatever support may be necessary,” the Government spokesman added.

Scouts from 158 countries were attending the jamboree, which is hosted by a different nation every four years.

Most Read

Download The App On The iOS Store