More than 10,000 Noto earthquake survivors still living in shelters

Monday marks 5 weeks since the Noto Peninsula earthquake struck central Japan on New Year's Day. More than 10,000 people are still living in shelters, while some of the survivors have begun moving into temporary housing.

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake and subsequent tremors left 240 people dead and damaged buildings across wide areas. Ishikawa Prefecture has released the names of 12 people who remain unaccounted for.

The earthquake also severely damaged infrastructure. Power supplies have mostly resumed but wide areas of seven cities and towns, including Wajima and Suzu, are still without running water.

Authorities in Ishikawa said 14,431 people were staying in evacuation centers as of Friday. Prefecture officials said that 2,867 people remained in damaged homes as of last Tuesday.

Some evacuees started moving into 18 newly built temporary housing units prepared by the prefecture on Saturday. The prefecture aims to build 3,000 units by the end of March but many quake victims will have to continue living in shelters.

The police have set up surveillance cameras in central Wajima City to step up security as many people are unable to return to their homes.

There are people still searching for missing family members. In Wajima's Ichinosemachi, several homes were hit by a landslide. One resident, Kakichi Hidetsugu, is still unaccounted for.

On Sunday, more than 100 rescue workers from across the country continued their search in Ichinosemachi, clearing away mud with heavy machinery. Hidetsugu's older brother, Hiroaki, thanked the rescue workers for the search. He took home some of Hidetsugu's belongings that were recovered from the site.

Hiroaki, who lives in Ishikawa's Kanazawa City, stayed at a shelter near his brother's home and has visited the search site almost every day. But he will go back to work on Monday.

Hiroaki said he is grateful to everyone who helped with the search and hopes his brother will be found as soon as possible. He said he seldom quarreled with his brother but now he wants to yell at him, "Where are you?"