Noto quake survivors need help to rebuild lives 3 months after disaster

Monday marks three months since a major earthquake jolted the Noto Peninsula and surrounding areas in central Japan on New Year's Day. Many survivors are in need of support to rebuild their lives as their living conditions remain harsh.

The confirmed death toll from the magnitude 7.6 quake stands at 244 people in Ishikawa Prefecture, with three others missing.

Prefectural officials say 8,109 people were taking shelter at evacuation sites as of Friday, with nearly half of them staying at hotels or elsewhere away from their hometowns.

The prefecture has received 7,800 applications for permits to live in temporary housing. But only about 900 units have been completed so far. Prefectural officials say more units will be prepared to accommodate all remaining applicants by around August.

Tap water remains unavailable at roughly 7,860 households and businesses in the northern half of the quake-stricken peninsula. Most of them are in the cities of Suzu and Wajima as well as the towns of Noto and Anamizu.

A growing number of residents are deciding to move from their quake-hit hometowns for the time being. Reasons cited for the decisions include jobs and childrearing in addition to no prospects for rebuilding damaged homes.

Authorities say they will work toward recovery and reconstruction in ways that prompt such people to return to their hometowns.