WASHINGTON--President Obama learned of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami from White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley around 4 a.m. est, the White House said on Friday morning. A bit more than a hour later, the White House issued a statement of condolences to Japan from Obama and First Lady Michelle--with notice that Obama told federal emergency management officials to be ready to assist Hawaii, where the tsunami is headed.
Obama on Japan earthquake, tsunami: "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy. We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."