New challenges as residents climb back from earthquake

It's been more than 5 weeks since the magnitude 7.6 Noto Peninsula earthquake rocked central Japan on New Year's Day.

Now, residents are hoping to get their local communities back up and running.

About 200 buildings burned down after a massive fire broke out in Wajima City after the quake.

A street which was famous for its holiday market used to draw tourists and locals alike.

Some stall owners have evacuated to Kanazawa City. They met there Tuesday to discuss how to reopen their businesses. They decided to hold a morning market in a parking lot at the city's Kanaiwa Port. The merchants said they will consider making it a regular event.

One of stall owners said, " What we love most is chatting with our customers. It gives us energy."

Students are also trying to get their lives back to normal.

Seven elementary and junior high schools in Wajima finally reopened on Tuesday. But students aren't back at their familiar schoolyards. Classes are operating out of a high school in the center of the city.

All public elementary and junior high schools in Ishikawa Prefecture have now reopened.

Communities still have to grapple with the cleanup. About 55 ,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged. Officials estimate there are 2.4 million tons of waste and debris scattered across Ishikawa Prefecture.

Normally, it would take the region seven years to create that much waste. Officials plan to transport part of it to facilities outside the prefecture. They estimate it will take about two years to dispose of it all.

Also on the horizon -- a possible shortage of medical staff. At Wajima Municipal Hospital, about 30 of its 120 nurses say they plan to quit.

A senior official of the hospital said, " If we lose 25 percent of our staff, it will be almost impossible for us to function as usual."

Some nurses said they plan to move out of the area since their homes were damaged or destroyed.

Meanwhile, police, firefighters and Self-Defense Force personnel are still searching for those who remain unaccounted for. One person was confirmed dead Tuesday after being found at the site of a landslide.