More than 1,000 buses have begun ferrying scouts at an international event in South Korea out of a campsite due to an incoming tropical storm.

Helicopters and police cars were escorting the buses from the disaster-hit jamboree.

The threat of the storm comes just days after hundreds at the camp fell ill in temperatures of 35C (95F).

South Korea's president has cut short his holiday to help manage the fallout from the gathering.

Attended by more than 40,000 young people from 155 countries, the World Scout Jamboree in Saemangeum has been marred by illness and criticism of its organisation and facilities from the start.

"This is the first time in more than 100 years of World Scout Jamborees that we have had to face such compounded challenges," Ahmad Alhendawi of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, said in a statement.

An image showing Scouts boarding a bus to leave the campsite in SaemangeumImage source, EPAImage caption, Scouts board a bus to leave the campsite in Saemangeum

The massive event had been "very unlucky with the unprecedented heatwave" and the incoming storm, he said.

The bus convoy began moving the scouts from Saemangeum at 09:00 local time (01:00 BST) on Tuesday to inland locations, including Seoul and its surrounding province of Gyeonggi.

Scout groups from the UK, Singapore and the US had left the event early – with the British group citing poor sanitation and food quality among their reasons for leaving.

Most of the remaining scouts will be ferried from the camp to 128 accommodation sites across eight provinces and cities around Seoul, interior minister Lee Sang-min on Tuesday morning.

He said the government would ensure participants could be "safe and comfortable" at their new lodgings, which include university halls and hotels.

He vowed the Jamboree would continue and said he hoped the scouts could "finish their schedules with a happy heart".

An image showing some of the many buses used to transport the scoutsImage source, ReutersImage caption, More than 1,000 buses are being used to transport the scouts

In an effort to mitigate the national embarrassment surrounding the event, a South Korean lawmaker has appealed to the military to give three members of seven-strong super K-pop group BTS leave from their mandatory military service so as to entertain the stranded scouts.

The now-empty schedules of these "precious guests" needed filling with "the power of Korean culture," Sung Il-jong wrote on his Facebook page.

A closing ceremony will now be held on Saturday at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, followed by the K-pop concert, South Korea's culture ministry said on Tuesday.

  • UK Scouts move into hotels after S Korea heatwave
  • Heat exhaustion hits hundreds at World Scout event

Korean media have described the event as "a national disgrace," saying authorities had six years to prepare for a site plagued by poor drainage, rudimentary showers and toilets.

Government organisers admitted there had been "shortcomings" in the area of hygiene, with the scout chief acknowledging the event had a "bumpy start with… services and facilities" in a LinkedIn post.

Severe Tropical Storm Khanun, which has already forced evacuations and cut off power to thousands in Japan, is forecast to reach South Korea's southern Jeolla province on Thursday.

Originally classified as a typhoon, the weather system has weakened but is still bringing high winds and torrential rain to the region.

Heatwaves like the one that hit the campsite become more frequent, more intense, and last longer because of human-induced climate change. Increased sea surface temperatures also mean storms are likely to be more intense and bring more extreme rainfall.

The jamboree's organisers had insisted the event would continue despite the weather forecast, but on Monday they confirmed the scouts would be evacuated and the campsite closed due to the approaching typhoon.

A map showing the path of a storm forecast to hit South KoreaBanner saying 'Get in touch'

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