Since 2015 people have been fleeing persecution and violence in war torn Syria and the Middle East. Few of us will ever forget the harrowing images of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi washed up on the beach after leaving Turkey attempting to make the crossing to Greece. Sixteen desperate people on a small boat that capsized soon after leaving Bodrum.
Currently there are over 62000 refugees in Greece. Many camps are in Northern Greece. Although there is some basic healthcare in the camps there is no dental provision adding to the appalling suffering faced by thousands of people who have fled their homes. Dentaid and Health Point Foundation are two charities that are organising for small teams of dental professionals to go into the camps and provide emergency dentistry. We will triage, treat and provide aftercare for the refugees. Many patients will require extractions and some refugees have developed complex dental problems since fleeing their homes.
So why am I going? Well I feel strongly that these people are very much like you and me and are only in this situation through life’s lottery. They were forced to either leave their lives and uproot their families or stay and face death, war and violence. I imagine having to tell my children that we have to leave our home and travel miles in any way possible through extreme dangers to reach help and that “help” is a camp of 4000 other people in the same situation with little or no hope of building a new life. I think we can all help in a small way and this is my way of helping.
On Tuesday, I fly out to Thessaloniki…… we’ll see what happens…