Obama says thoughts, prayers to Haiti

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says his thoughts and prayers — and, possibly, U.S. aid — go to the people of Haiti, where a strong earthquake hit the island nation.

Obama said Tuesday in a statement that the United States is watching the situation is ready to assist Haitians.

White House officials say Obama was told of the earthquake at 5:52 p.m and he asked aides to make sure U.S. personnel at the embassy in Port-au-Prince were safe. Officials also say Obama told them to start preparing in case humanitarian assistance is needed.

The State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Southern Command have started to coordinate.