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Obama told no reports of major damage after earthquake

(Xinhua)

09:16, August 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama discussed with senior administration officials about the strong earthquake which struck the U.S. east coast Tuesday afternoon, and he was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, a White House spokesman said.

The president, who is on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, led a conference call with some top officials including Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and others, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance, according to the statement, issued hours after the 5.8- magnitude earthquake struck eastern United States.

The powerful earthquake forced airports in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and other major cities in the area to temporarily stop ground operations to allow inspections, though most flights have resumed later Tuesday.

Two nuclear reactors were automatically taken off-line near quake site in Virginia, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). NRC officials are assessing the situation and sending people to inspect the site.

Obama asked for regular updates on the earthquake and status of critical infrastructure, the statement added.

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