(LEAD) Over 10,000 Scouts head home after attending two-week World Scout Jamboree

About 10,000 young Scouts and adult volunteers who participated in the 2023 World Scout Jamboree in South Korea are ready to depart back home Saturday, the interior and safety ministry said.

According to the ministry, over 10,000 participants headed to the airport on Saturday alone to return to their respective countries.

The central government and local governments will host various cultural programs, and provide food and transportation services to the remaining participants until they depart back home, it added.

Interior Minister Lee Sang-min earlier said the government will “provide convenience to the participants of the jamboree and take care of the safety of each of them until the last one (departs).”

The quadrennial global event kicked off in Saemangeum on Aug. 1 for a 12-day run, with about 40,000 Scout members joining in from 158 countries.

The British, U.S. and some other contingents pulled out of the campsite after just a few days amid safety concerns arising from a prolonged heat wave and a lack of sanitation in the reclaimed treeless land area.

Earlier this week, the rest of the Scouts also evacuated to Seoul and seven other regions, as Typhoon Khanun was forecast to make landfall near the region.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stressed that the jamboree came to a successful end, disclosing parts of his phone talks with several foreign envoys on his Facebook post.

Gareth Weir, Deputy Ambassador at the British Embassy Seoul, expressed his “appreciation and said he was surprised by the South Korean government’s goodwill and problem-solving capability” demonstrated at the event, Han said.

He also held phone talks with Dagmar Schmidt Tartagli, the Swiss ambassador to South Korea, to ask about the Swiss Scouts who recently sustained injuries from a bus accident in the southern city of Suncheon.

Tartagli expressed appreciation for the call, and said they were all treated and discharged from the hospital, according to Han.

A tour bus carrying members of the Swiss contingent and a guide collided with another bus Wednesday on a road in Suncheon while heading to Seoul, leaving three Scouts injured.

Source: Yonhap News Agency