David “Dave” Pflieger works hard to support the islands of Fiji when not busy with his work in the airline industry. One of the organizations David Pflieger supports is the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND), a local NGO based on the west coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu.
FRIEND plays a crucial role in the disaster response infrastructure of Fiji, using its experience in planning, food security, and capacity building to effectively mobilize disaster relief. Its immense knowledge of the area enables it to efficiently engage in triage, focusing on the areas hit hardest by a disaster and immediately deploying relief where it is most needed. Its efforts begin with humanitarian assistance before moving on to rehabilitation needs such as the development of sustainable livelihoods and job creation.
This work is essential due to the frequency of tropical depressions, cyclones, and other intense weather conditions in the region. Many communities on the islands are vulnerable to these or other disasters, which has led FRIEND to design capacity-building efforts that focus on the most vulnerable areas. Disaster relief also addresses other common Fiji issues, such as droughts and the agricultural depressions that result from such events.