Dental community responds to Australian bush-fires
SYDNEY, Australia: Though recent bouts of rain have brought some much-needed relief to areas of Australia battered by bush-fires in the past few months, dozens of fires still continue to burn across the states of New South Wales and Victoria. To help with recovery efforts in those areas that have been affected, numerous members of the Australian dental community have come together to offer financial aid and other services.
Intensified by extreme heat and drought, the fires have destroyed more than 2,000 homes, burned through greater than ten million hectares (100,000 km2) of land and killed at least 30 people across the nation since September 2019, according to the BBC. Worldwide media coverage of the natural disaster has helped to spur on a robust relief response, and the Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that total donations are nearing A$500 million.
Both large and small players in the Australian dental world have volunteered to help those in need. Norlane Dental Surgery in Geelong in Victoria, for example, announced that 29 January will be a bush-fire donation day, during which the practice will donate A$1,000 as well as a portion of its earnings on that day to the Country Fire Authority. Meanwhile, the Balhannah Dental Practice in South Australia, which had to be temporarily evacuated owing to bush-fires on 20 December, has pledged to provide up to A$1,000 of dental treatment without charge to existing patients who have lost their homes as a result of the fires.
“It has been truly heartbreaking to see how many lives have been thrown into turmoil,” Balhannah Dental Practice’s Dr Daniel Chin told Dental Tribune International. “We just hope that this will help those who have been worst affected.”
The damage wrought by the fires has even caused dental professionals from as far away as the US to jump into action. Dr Mark King, who operates an implantology- and periodontology-focused dental practice in Kentucky, recently announced that he would be donating all of his practice’s profits from the first two weeks of this year to bush-fire relief.
The international healthcare product and service provider Henry Schein has also proved eager to aid relief efforts in Australia, announcing that it will donate US$50,000 to a 2020 disaster relief fund and will match employee contributions up to US$25,000. The company’s Australian subsidiary, Henry Schein Australia, has also promised to donate a portion of its sales during the month of January to local relief efforts.