[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/27/art.bochile0227.gi.jpg caption="President Obama gave a brief statement Saturday about the massive earthquake in Chile and preparations for a potential tsunami on U.S. shores."]
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama promised Saturday to assist Chile in the aftermath of a massive 8.8 earthquake, and vowed to prepare U.S. shores for a potential tsunami.
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"We can't control nature, but we can and must be prepared for disaster when it strikes," he said in a brief statement at the White House, speaking of a potential tsunami looming over parts of the Pacific, including Hawaii.
He urged citizens in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa to listen carefully to local officials, and told citizens along the U.S. West Coast to be prepared as well, as "there may be dangerous waves and currents throughout the day."
Speaking of Chile, where the earthquake killed 147 people, Obama said the United States stands ready to assist in rescue and recovery efforts, should the country ask for American help.
He said he has reached out to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet "to let her know we will be there should the Chilean people need assistance," he said.
The president took no questions.