The Korea Herald


World Scout Jamboree's opening ceremony to be held amid heat wave concerns

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 2, 2023 - 11:10

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Young Scouts gather at a waterwork facility to cool off near a World Scout Jamboree campground in Saemangeum, southwestern South Korea, on Tuesday. (Yonhap) Young Scouts gather at a waterwork facility to cool off near a World Scout Jamboree campground in Saemangeum, southwestern South Korea, on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

About 43,000 young Scouts from 158 countries are set to begin full participation in educational and cultural exchange programs of the 25th World Scout Jamboree on Wednesday, with the opening ceremony taking place in the Saemangeum Reclaimed Area on the southwestern South Korean coast in the evening.

Amid a scorching heat wave sweeping across the nation, the opening ceremony is set to start at 8 p.m. at the jamboree campground, about 180 km south of Seoul, featuring welcome and opening speeches by dignitaries, performances by a Scout orchestra and British survival expert Bear Grylls, and a light show using 500 drones.

The world jamboree, dubbed the "cultural Olympics for youth," kicked off in the Saemangeum area Tuesday and the opening ceremony is the first event where all participants gather together.

With as many as 43,000 people to be packed into the opening ceremony venue, covering 46,200 square meters, the authorities and the organizing committee are to make all-out efforts to prevent accidents.

The ceremony venue will be divided into 16 zones and about 500 safety workers and police will be deployed in key locations, while participants will be led to enter and leave sequentially along the control lines, according to officials at the organizing committee.

This year's unusually hot summer weather is expected to pose an unpredictable factor for the rare international event, as a heat wave advisory has been issued for 14 North Jeolla Province areas, including Saemangeum, and the sweltering heat is expected to continue through Aug. 11, when the closing ceremony will be held.

The maximum sensible temperature is forecast to soar to 35 C on Wednesday.

Saemangeum already experienced a tropical night Tuesday, with the nighttime low staying above 25 C. As many as 19 people suffered from heat-related illnesses at the jamboree campground on the first day.

The organizing committee said it will take all possible measures to protect young Scouts from the heat wave and tropical nights. It has installed 1,722 shade shelters and 57 vine tunnels with cooling features, and designated half a dozen places, including an indoor gym and a sports park, as emergency shelters.

If the severe heat wave continues, 300 shuttle buses that can accommodate 12,000 people and the Global Youth Leader Center, where the organizing committee is located and about 3,000 people can be housed, will be used as temporary shelters, it noted.

The World Scout Jamboree is held every four years, and this is the second world jamboree hosted by South Korea after the first one in Goseong, Gangwon Province, in 1991. The event is intended to provide opportunities for young Scouts to learn about different cultures and build friendships through outdoor camping and cultural activities. (Yonhap)