Washington: US President Barack Obama called his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet to express condolence in the aftermath of the massive earthquake in the country in which hundreds are feared dead, even as he said that US is ready to provide assistance in relief efforts.
"This afternoon, President Obama spoke with President Michelle Bachelet to express his condolences for the losses Chile suffered as a result of this morning’s tragic earthquake," the White House said in a statement.
Obama commended President Bachelet for the Chilean government`s response to the disaster and recognised Chile’s capacity and expertise in responding to earthquakes.
"He reiterated that the United States stands ready to assist the Chilean government’s rescue and recovery efforts.”
“President Bachelet thanked President Obama for his call, and said that she would be in touch should Chile require any support," the White House said.
"Early indications are that hundreds of lives have been lost in Chile, and the damage is severe," Obama said in a statement at the White House after he was briefed by his national security team after a massive earthquake hit Chile on Saturday.
Noting that the devastating earthquake has affected millions of people in Chile, he said: "This catastrophic event was followed by multiple aftershocks, and has prompted tsunami warnings across the Pacific Ocean."
Obama said the US stands ready to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts.
"We have resources that are positioned to deploy should the Chilean government ask for our help," he said. Observing that Chile is a close friend and partner of the US, Obama said, "I`ve reached out to President Bachelet to let her know that we will be there for her should the Chilean people need assistance, and our hearts go out to the families who may have lost loved ones."
US embassy establishes command centre
The US embassy in Santiago, the capital of Chile, has established a command centre following the massive earthquake that hit the Latin country, American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.
"We are closely monitoring reports from Chile and across the Pacific rim, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have loved ones affected by this tragedy," Hillary said in a statement.
"The United States stands ready to provide necessary assistance to Chile in the days and weeks ahead and is coordinating closely with senior Chilean officials on the content and timing of such support," she said.
"Our embassy in Santiago has established a command centre and is working to ensure the safety of any affected American citizens," she added.
Hillary, who is leaving for the quake-devastated region on Sunday, said she would be in contact with the Chile leaders.