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Obama holds conference with officials after quake

US President Barack Obama held a conference call with top officials of his administration following the 5.9-strong earthquake that hit the country's east coast in the afternoon.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2011 12:28 IST

US President Barack Obama held a conference call with top officials of his administration following the 5.9-strong earthquake that hit the country's east coast in the afternoon.

The quake occurred at 1751 GMT and was described as "one of the largest earthquakes on the east coast".

Obama, who is on a vacation in Martha's Vineyard in the state of Massachusetts, asked to be regularly updated on the aftermath of the earthquake, RIA Novosti reported.

The undersea quake jolted several US cities, including Washington DC, where the authorities had to temporarily evacuate the White House, the Capitol Hill and other buildings, Xinhua reported.

"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," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

Two nuclear reactors shut down automatically in the state of Virginia after the earthquake that was centered in Mineral, Virginia.

New York television stations reported tremors in the city could be felt in Times Square. People in the Supreme Court of New York and City Hall have been evacuated.

The US weather service,however, ruled out a tsunami.

"This is one of the largest earthquakes on the east coast in quite a while, in many decades at least," USGS spokeswoman Lucy Jones told CNN.

"It's not unprecedented. But it's one of the largest we have had there."

Telecommunication in some areas was also briefly disrupted.