February 09, 2018 12:00
Volunteers at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are struggling to deal with freezing conditions in the alpine city in Gangwon Province.
Those working outdoors face temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius due to the wind chill effect, while wearing uniforms that are apparently not warm enough.
Among some 10,000 volunteers, about 2,000 work outside, providing parking assistance, guiding traffic and helping conduct security checks. After the opening ceremony on Friday, the number of volunteers will jump to 14,600, with some 3,000 of them working outside.
Some volunteers have complained of poor working conditions including insufficient meals and lack of public transportation.
All volunteers are provided with a set of winter clothing and thermal underwear. But they say these are not enough to keep them warm amid the freezing weather in the mountainous region.
To make things worse, they cannot even bundle up with additional jackets or other garments, as they must be clad in neat uniforms that make them easily identifiable so they can carry out their duties properly.
They work for seven to eight hours a day, taking a break every 20 or 30 minutes. But sometimes they are required to stand outside in the cold for longer than expected due to other volunteers missing shifts or quitting.
"We're working on offering better conditions to outdoor volunteers by installing more shelters for them to rest in and letting them take more breaks," said an official representing the organizers.
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