Dutch scouts among hundreds with heat exhaustion at World Jamboree in South Korea

Several Dutch scouts were treated in an emergency hospital on Wednesday during and after the opening ceremony of the World Jamboree in South Korea. It concerned eight participants who became unwell due to the heat, said Iris Brummelhuis, spokesperson for Scouting Netherlands. Two of them were sent to a hospital outside the event area.

It is exceptionally hot and wet in Saemangeum, where the World Jamboree is organized in South Korea. Until 12 August, 43,000 scouts from almost 160 countries will gather there. The temperature has already risen to 38 degrees.

Brummelhuis stressed that most of the young participants, aged 14 to 17, are having a great time despite the heat and abundant rainfall. “We receive a lot of positive reactions,” she said. But she admits that it is a bit rough for the older volunteers who help run the event. “But we have a lot of respect for how they tackle it.”

According to Reuters, at least 400 participants in the World Jamboree have so far become unwell due to heat and dehydration. A member of the Dutch delegation described a chaotic situation to NOS Radio 1 Journaal on Thursday. Among other things, they’re struggling with many stinging insects. According to him, there were initially too few shaded areas on the site and insufficient drinking water. Those two issues have since been resolved, he said.

Scouting Netherlands confirmed that there are indeed a lot of mosquitos on site because it is so wet and warm. The flat land on which the World Jamboree is organized is located in a polder on the west coast of South Korea. The participants stay in tents.

According to Brummelhuis, however, the situation is now under control, and the Dutch delegation is in close contact with the Dutch embassy and the organization of the World Jamboree. The basic facilities are in order, she stressed. But due to the unrelenting heat, “we have to constantly look at what else is needed.”

Reporting by ANP

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