Heat wave hits scouts camping in South Korea

Heat wave hits scouts camping in South Korea

Around 88 participants fall ill, many collapse during the opening ceremony in Saemangeum

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – Sweltering temperatures in South Korea led to hospitalization of at least 88 people during the opening ceremony of the 25th World Scout Jamboree on Wednesday night, officials said on Thursday.

The global event, known as the "cultural Olympics for youth," opened at a massive campsite in Saemangeum Reclaimed Area with about 43,000 young scouts from 158 countries.

Jeonbuk police said participants with heat-related illness symptoms were treated within the hospital inside the campsite, while five others were referred to nearby hospitals with ankle fractures or signs of anxiety disorders.

Many people had collapsed during the event which forced fire authorities to ask the organizers to halt the event.

"Most of the patients showed signs of exhaustion, but no one was seriously hurt,” an official said.

This year's unusually hot summer weather, which has so far killed at least 23 people nationwide, is expected to continue throughout the 12-day event, with temperatures likely to hover around 35C (95F) in most parts of the country.

Authorities have raised the heat wave alert to "serious," the highest level in the four-stage warning system, for the first time since 2019.

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