In the event of a catastrophic emergency, Alaska will be forced to rely on food supplies from out of state because a bid to provide, store, and manage an emergency food supply has been rejected by the state.During the most recent legislative session, Gov. Sean Parnell was able to secure $4.9 million for a state emergency food storage program.
The state was forced to reject the bid, due to the contractor's failure to produce a performance bond before deadline. The performance bond is put into place to ensure that the state's investment of both money and resources would be insured.
Jeremy Zidek, spokesman for the state of Alaska's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said a performance bond is necessary to the contract. "This contract stretched over a five year span, so there could be multiple things that take place that could affect the business," Zidek said.The rejection of the contract bid means that, for now, there is no statewide Alaska emergency food storage system. Although Alaska does have smaller agencies within the state, which stockpile non-perishable food, Jim MacKenzie, of Food Bank of Alaska, says the food they store and distribute is mostly for those who are "food insecure" on a regular basis.
In the event of a major disaster, MacKenzie said Alaskans are very vulnerable. "We don't have a USDA warehouse in the state, so I think this is a conversation that we applaud the governor for starting," he said.
Although the initial bid was rejected, Zidek says the division will continue to pursue bids for this project.