US President Barack Obama broke away from a round of golf to conduct a conference call with top disaster officials Tuesday after a rare earthquake shook America’s east coast.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama, playing a course on Martha’s Vineyard island, did not feel the impact of the quake, though tremors were felt elsewhere on the well-heeled resort as buildings swayed.
“The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities, and that there were currently no requests for assistance,” Earnest said.
“The president asked for regular updates on the situation.”
Obama concluded his round on Farm Neck golf club after the call, which included Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan.
Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate and the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Greg Jaczko, were also on the call, along with other senior emergency and security officials.
The impact of the 5.8 magnitude quake was less severe in Martha’s Vineyard, more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) away from its epicenter in Virginia, than in Washington, where government buildings were evacuated.
Obama was also briefed in the call on the latest preparations for Hurricane Irene, which is on a track to hit South and North Carolina by early Saturday, the day he is expected to return to Washington after his vacation.