Organisation of the 25th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea has been slammed ‘a national disgrace’ after the event was crippled by a heatwave, a looming typhoon, a Covid outbreak and misconduct allegations.

Many country delegations took the decision to evacuate their contingents from the Saemangeum campsite in western Korea. UK, Singapore and New Zealand were among the first to pull out their scouts from the campsite.

Scouts from around the world gather every four years at the international event’s chosen location and this year’s festival had claimed to be world’s largest youth camp, with over 42,000 attending over the 12 days. The event had been six years in preparation.

The camp site was criticised for being too open with little protection from the weather, which turned out to be extremely hot (up to 35C), with the added spice of rains that turned the site into a quagmire before the event had even started.

A makeshift hospital treated dozens of campers for heat exhaustion and Covid. Scout groups who did not return home early were scattered at sites across the country.

One group of the South Korean Scouts reportedly withdrew from the Jamboree, claiming organisers did not do enough to protect women following an incident in the showers.

Organisers pressed ahead with a closing ceremony although one senior South Korean official reportedly told the BBC, under condition of anonymity, that he believed a key reason for the mess was the number of authorities involved.

The organisers were a mix of the Korea Scout Association, Korean provincial officials and various government agencies.

“This is the first time in more than 100 years of World Scout Jamborees that we have had to face such compounded challenges, from untimely floods to an unprecedented heatwave and now a typhoon!” said Ahmad Alhendawi, the secretary-general of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, in a statement.

The Scout Jamboree was South Korea’s largest major event in terms of international participants since the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It turned out to be one the Korean media are calling “a national disgrace”, however.

Former hosts of the World Scout Jamborees have included the USA, Thailand, Norway, with South Korea previously hosting the international Scouts in 1991. The youth contingents’ ages usually range from six to 18, making them reliant on organisers and adult Leaders for necessities.