U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the 8.9 magnitude earthquake which struck Japan early this morning, and on the resulting tsunamis which have struck Japan, Hawaii, and other areas and continue to pose a threat to Hawaii and other U.S. states and territories:
"My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan this morning as they deal with the effects of today's devastating earthquake and tsunamis and mourn the deaths of friends and loved ones. The footage and reports of this disaster are agonizing, and it is clear that the damage is major and that loss of life is widespread.
"While thus far, Hawaii, Alaska, California, American Samoa, Guam, and other U.S. states and territories appear to have been spared from the devastation that this disaster has caused in other areas, it is important that federal and local officials remain cautious and prepared.
"I am also in close contact with the State Department to keep up to speed on the plight of United States citizens in Japan to ensure that every effort is made to assist any American affected by this tragedy.
"Japan is a close and strong ally of the United States, and the friendship between the people of Japan and the American people is palpable. As we begin to get a clearer picture of the extent of the damage and the scope of rescue and recovery efforts needed, I stand ready to support contributions from the United States to those efforts."