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108 attendees at the World Scout Jamboree treated for heat-related illnesses in South Korea

An ambulance passes a field filled with tents
An ambulance passes a scout camping site during the World Scout Jamboree in Buan, South Korea, on Wednesday. More than 100 people were treated for heat-related illnesses at the event.
(Jeonbuk Fire Station / Yonhap via AP)
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At least 108 people were treated for heat-related illnesses at the World Scout Jamboree being held in South Korea, which is having one of its hottest summers in years.

Most of them have recovered, but at least two remained in treatment at an on-site hospital as of Thursday morning, said Choi Chang-haeng, secretary-general of the jamboree’s organizing committee.

The committee, which plans to proceed with the event while adding dozens of medical staffers to prepare for further emergencies, did not provide the ages and other personal details of those who were injured.

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Wednesday night’s opening ceremony of the jamboree, which brought more than 40,000 scouts, mostly teens, to a campsite built on land reclaimed from the sea in the southwestern town of Buan. The temperature there reached 95 degrees on Wednesday.

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Lee Sang-min, South Korea’s minister of the interior and safety, instructed officials during an emergency meeting to explore “all possible measures” to protect the participants, including adjusting the event’s outdoor activities, adding more emergency vehicles and medical posts, and providing more shade structures and air conditioning.

He said the goal is to prevent “even one serious illness or death,” according to comments shared by the ministry.

There had been concerns about holding the jamboree in a vast, treeless area lacking refuge from the heat.

Choi had said that the event was safe enough to continue and that similar situations could have occurred if the jamboree were held elsewhere.

“The participants came from afar and hadn’t yet adjusted” to the weather, Choi said in a news briefing.

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He said the large number of patients could be linked to a K-pop performance during the opening ceremony, which he said left many of the teens “exhausted after actively releasing their energy.”

South Korea this week raised its hot weather warning to the highest “serious” level for the first time in four years as heat waves are striking countries across the globe.

Temperatures in South Korea hovered between 91 and 100 degrees.

The Safety Ministry said at least 16 people have died from heat-related illnesses since May 20, including two on Tuesday.

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