UNHCR has also received nearly $900,000 for the Iraq preparedness from other countries, as well as signals of possible further contributions.
UNHCR officials welcomed the donations, which come as the cash-strapped agency juggles several existing humanitarian operations from Côte d'Ivoire to Angola to Afghanistan, while at the same time struggling to prepare for a possible Iraq emergency. UNHCR has already spent $19 million to get ready for a crisis in Iraq, borrowing from emergency reserve funds.
The US contributions were formally announced in Geneva on Thursday during a meeting between High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers and the head of the US Permanent Mission, Ambassador Kevin Moley. In the presence of Ambassador Moley, the High Commissioner signed the 2003 Framework for Cooperation between UNHCR and the United States, which also covers funding issues.
It is anticipated that the United States this year will fund between 22 and 25 percent of UNHCR's annual budget of just over $836 million.