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Obama Offers Help to Chile, Urge People to Follow Tsunami Warning

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US President Barack Obama offered help to quake-stricken Chile on Saturday, and urged people living in areas where tsunami warnings are issued to follow instructions of officials.

Obama said he has reached out to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet upon hearing about the magnitude 8.8 earthquake. He said the United States has resources in position to deploy, and could help in the rescue and recovery efforts, should Chile ask for help.

He also urge citizens to heed tsunami warnings, and listen to instructions of the warnings. Tsunami warnings are issued all across the Pacific, as the massive earthquake caused tidal waves that could reach as far as Japan

Obama said the US government is preparing for a tsunami that could reach American shores later Saturday, particularly in Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam.

"A tsunami warning is in place, and people have been alerted to evacuate coastal areas. I urge citizens to listen closely to the instructions of local officials," he said.

Obama said he was briefed by his national security team on the steps the United States is taking to protect US citizens, and to help with the Chilean side.

"In the hours ahead, we'll continue to take every step possible to prepare our shores and protect our citizens. And we will stand with the people of Chile as they recover from this terrible tragedy," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2010)

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