Thousands of Scouts who survived soaring temperatures and dire sanitation at the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea have now been forced to leave as a tropical storm approaches.
More than 1,000 buses have taken 37,000 Scouts from their giant campsite on the southwest coast in the county of Buan to the capital Seoul and other inland cities.
The British contingent had already pulled out at the weekend due to the extreme heat, sanitation problems and the poor availability of food and medical services.
But on Monday, officials made the decision that everyone should abandon the camp.
Arvi Snall, head of the Finnish contingent of 900 Scouts, described it as “saddening” that Tropical Storm Khanun had forced an end to the event as the infrastructure had “improved day-by-day” since the issues with “grim” toilets and inadequate showers at the start.
“Every day we had a management meeting and we would assess the risk of diseases… because of poor hygiene,” he said.
“We had considered whether to depart but had decided to stay because the camp was improving all the time.”
The Scouts, from 158 countries across the world, are now being put up in university dormitories, government and corporate training centres, and hotels.
Mohamed Abdellal and fellow Egyptian Scout Lojaine Magdi, both 16, were disappointed to leave the camp but are excited about the activities which are being put on for them in Seoul.
“I was surprised at first that we were leaving the camp but then I thought it was better this way,” said Lojaine.
“They told us that this typhoon is really dangerous. We don’t know how it would affect us.”
Mohamed said it had been very hot at the start of the event and the toilets may not have been cleaned “but this is a part of the Scout’s life”.
“It’s like a test to have some challenges so we can be called a Scout,” he said.
The chief executive of UK Scouts, Matt Hyde, expects the organisation will need to use more than £1m from its reserves to cover the cost of moving 4,500 Scouts and adult volunteers.
He fears it could affect activities for five years.
“We feel let down by the organisers because we repeatedly raised some of these concerns before we went, and during, and we were promised things were going to be put in place and they weren’t,” Mr Hyde told the BBC.
British Scouts move into Seoul hotels after heatwave hits World Jamboree
4,000 UK Scouts to be moved into hotels as heatwave hits World Jamboree
Scouts evacuate as typhoon looms
The British Scouts have already visited a war memorial and the former presidential palace since arriving in Seoul.
And South Korean officials say the Jamboree will continue in the form of further cultural events and activities, including a K-Pop concert in Seoul on Friday.
The evacuations were announced after the World Organisation of the Scout Movement called on the host nation to quickly move the Scouts from the storm’s path and provide necessary resources for participants until they return to their home countries.
“This is the first time in more than 100 years of World Scout Jamborees that we have had to face such compounded challenges,” said Ahmad Alhendawi, secretary general of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.