WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement on the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan earlier today:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, who have experienced the incredibly destructive and unpredictable power of nature. The widespread loss of life following today’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami is shocking and heartbreaking. Once a bitter enemy and powerful economic rival, the nation of Japan has become a crucial ally and close friend to the United States. As the President stated earlier this morning, our nation will provide critical support in what will certainly be a complex and difficult recovery effort.

“Thankfully, it appears American states and territories in the Pacific will not experience the devastating effect of a significant tsunami. Reports have indicated local communities, state governments and federal agencies were well prepared for a potential disaster. I applaud officials at every level of government who took the appropriate precautionary step to evacuate thousands of Americans from low-lying, coastal areas.”