Because of an approaching tropical storm, the world’s largest scout camp in South Korea with tens of thousands of young people – including some from Austria – has been canceled. As a spokeswoman for the Austrian contingent announced on Tuesday night, 43,000 girl scouts from 158 countries had gathered in Saemangeum, including 484 young people and volunteers from Austria. The Austrian contingent will be brought to Seoul on Tuesday.
The Austrian scouts will spend the remaining days in the capital until the planned return flight and will probably meet numerous other participants there. “The jamboree did not go as we would have wished,” said the Austrian contingent leader Lisa Prior. “But the young people were able to make numerous international contacts and get to know many cultures in these few days at the camp. We will spend the remaining days in Make good use of Asia and have an exciting time with the young people.”
Prior had previously told APA that it was working closely with the Austrian embassy in Seoul, which provided those affected with a total of twelve buses to help them leave. The capital is about a four-hour drive from the scout camp. A follow-up program would have been planned in a hotel in the country’s capital anyway, and this will now be extended, according to Prior. Flights home would not be brought forward. The first flights are booked for August 12th, the last batch of the camp will fly on August 16th.
The World Scout Jamboree on the west coast of South Korea was originally supposed to last until August 12th. The world association called on the government to support the scouts to the best of their ability until they return to their home countries. As a spokeswoman for South Korea’s presidential office said, there are discussions about bringing the participants to the region around the capital Seoul.
An ongoing heat wave in South Korea had plagued the Scout meeting in Saemangeum since it began on August 1st. The world association had therefore spoken out in favor of an early termination at the end of last week. However, most state associations – including the Austrian contingent – decided to stay. However, thousands of participants from Great Britain, the USA and Singapore left the camp.
“It didn’t start well with a lot of rain, the campsite was very damp and muddy. Then came the heat wave, unfortunately that’s the way it is, and now the typhoon warning,” said Prior. But the children and young people always had fun and can also go on excursions to the last, for example to the sea. Those responsible also provided many air-conditioned buses or tents and distributed water. Nevertheless, Prior noticed that the participants needed more rest and relaxation than at previous camps.
According to the South Korean Weather Bureau, the powerful typhoon is currently moving north towards the Korean Peninsula and could make landfall in the southeast on Thursday. Strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected.
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The camp takes place on an area reclaimed from the sea. Saemangeum offers no natural shade for the participants, who are accommodated in more than 20,000 tents. South Korea is under the influence of a severe heat wave with temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius and so-called tropical nights, in which it is currently only slightly cooling down. The World Scout Meeting takes place every four years.
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