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Typhoon Khanun

South Korea begins evacuating thousands of scouts ahead of typhoon

South Korea begins evacuating thousands of scouts ahead of typhoon
Scouts board a bus to leave the ongoing World Scout Jamboree campsite in Saemangeum, South Korea, 08 August 2023, as Typhoon Khanun is forecast to hit the nation's southeastern region two days later. More than 1,000 buses were utilized to move about 36,000 Scouts from 156 countries to Seoul and other provincial areas, which are anticipated to avoid the direct impact of the typhoon. EPA-EFE/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

BUAN, South Korea, Aug 8 (Reuters) - South Korea on Tuesday started evacuating thousands of teenage participants at the World Scout Jamboree from a campsite in the southwest of the country to safer areas mainly around the capital ahead of an approaching typhoon.

The evacuation is the latest blow to the 10-day jamboree, after hundreds fell ill due to a heatwave and amid mounting complaints from parents over its organisation, prompting the earlier withdrawal of U.S. and British scout contingents.

“This is the first time in more than 100 years of World Scout Jamborees that we have had to face such compounded challenges,” Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, said in a statement.

More than 1,000 buses are being deployed to move the 36,000 scouts remaining at the campsite from more than 150 countries, according to officials.

Typhoon Khanun, which has already wreaked havoc in southern Japan, is expected to hit southern areas of South Korea on Thursday before tracking up the peninsula, according to weather forecasters.

Eight cities and provinces including Seoul and Gyeonggi Province will host the scouts for the rest of their stay in South Korea, with 4,000 participants due to remain in North Jeolla Province where the campsite is located, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The organisers said most participants will have their own room or share with one other person.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday ordered an emergency response team to implement the latest plans without a glitch, his office said

The jamboree is officially due to run until Aug. 12 and gender equality minister Kim Hyun-sook, whose department is running the event, has insisted the event will continue, with alternative programmes and a K-pop show.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim and Park Ju-min in Seoul and Hyun Young Yi in Buan; Editing by Ed Davies and Sonali Paul)

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