SEOUL -- Provincial governments are closely working with foreign embassies to provide the best K-experience for Scouts and Girl Guides who had to evacuate from the 25th World Scout Jamboree campsite earlier than their schedules because of Typhoon Khanun.
On August 7, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the main international Scouting organization, decided to pull participants out from the Saemangeum area six days after the World Scouting event was kicked off due to Typhoon Khanun that was creeping northwards from the Pacific Ocean to South Korea. The Saemangeum area where the original campsite was located is a reclaimed land that becomes muddy grounds during rain.
The decision to evacuate from the original campsite came after the South Korean government was bombarded by a barrage of complaints over unfinished infrastructure for water, electricity, food, and sewage systems that were not working properly, resulting in some 400 patients receiving medical treatment for heatstroke and other hygiene-related diseases. Due to such problems, Britain and the United States pulled their scouts out of the Jamboree program on August 6.
Some 37,000 Remaining scouts were moved to eight different parts of South Korea including Seoul and the southern port city of Busan. About 1,100 participants from Chile were split into four groups and transported to North Chungcheong Province. One group relocated to Chungbuk University while another group moved to Jincheon National Training Center for athletes.
[Chilean Scouts relocate to North Chungcheong Province]
"All of the participants are in good condition. The only issue is that they have been split into groups and it is difficult to find enough interpreters," Lucas Pavez, a Chilean Embassy Consul in Seoul, told Aju Korea Daily on August 10. "They are safe. It was a wise decision to relocate the kids, the whole contingent, as a prevention measure for the typhoon. They are enjoying the activities organized by the North Chungcheong Provincial Government," Pavez said.
The people in the North Chungcheong Province are showing curiosity toward young Chilean Scouts, according to the envoy. "They are very nice to our Scouts. They showed the kids traditional Korean games, traditional presentations, and artistic presentations. Kids are feeling more close to South Korean society," Pavez said, adding that everything including food and other supplies are offered by North Chungcheong Province.
In areas near Cheongju and Chungju, which are two major cities in the central province, Jamboree participants engaged in various activities with local people. "We acknowledge the fact that it was a very short time for the provincial government to plan a schedule of activities for the kids. I acknowledge that they did well," the Chilean consul showed appreciation towards North Chungcheong Province's effort to house young Chilean scouts. Currently, the Chilean Embassy in South Korea is helping the heads of the Chilean Scouts to effectively provide support for teams that have been separated.
"I'm also in Jincheon today to meet the international relations division of the North Chungcheong Province. So everything has been successfully working," Pavez said.
[British Scouts visit the British Embassy in Seoul]
British Scouts who relocated from the original Saemangeum Jamboree campsite earlier than other countries' contingents mainly moved to Seoul. Four teams visited the British Embassy in South Korea, near central Seoul, on August 9 and engaged in a Q&A session with envoys. The envoys explained the role of the British Embassy and the diplomatic relationship between South Korea and Britain. They also briefed guest Scouts about the issues that are related to the 140th commemoration of S. Korea-Britain relations.
"Young Scouts appreciated the acts of kindness shown by South Koreans and they would return home with fond memories of the country. Many have said that would definitely revisit South Korea in the future," Jenny Hong, a senior media officer at the British Embassy, said.
British Scouts also visited a monument for British soldiers who fought in the Korean War (1950~1953), located in Paju, north of Seoul. The Gloucester Hill Battle Monument was built to commemorate the actions of the Gloucestershire Regiment and C Troop, 170th Mortar Battery, Royal Artillery, of the British Army during the Battle of the Imjin River in 1951. "The Scouts said it was a good opportunity for them to learn about the Korean War," Hong said.
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