Hard-hit Wajima quake survivors begin moving into temporary housing

Survivors of the New Year's Day earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture's Wajima City, central Japan, have begun to move into temporary housing.

The first such housing units in the prefecture were completed in open space in the city's center. They opened on Saturday for 18 households consisting of 55 people, with priority given to those who lost their homes or elderly people needing special care.

New residents began entering the buildings in the morning.

Among them is Oshita Sumiko. A massive fire in the city's Asaichi Street area burnt down the house where she lived alone. She has been in an evacuation center with her daughter's family.

In her new home, Oshita checked home electronics such as the refrigerator and TV, and relief supplies that include tools for cooking.

She said she is glad, noting she often had difficulty in sleeping at the shelter. She added that it is nice to be able to do her laundry now. She said she wants to relax although she misses staying with family members.

Wajima City in the Noto Peninsula was severely hit by the quake. City officials say they have received more than 4,000 applications for temporary housing, and that the construction of 548 units is underway. Ishikawa Prefecture says it plans to start building about 3,000 units by the end of March.