More than 14,000 people remained evacuated Thursday, one month after a magnitude-7.6 earthquake hit the Noto Peninsula in central Japan, as local governments rush to prepare temporary housing while logistics continued to be disrupted.

The victims of the quake, which claimed 240 lives, are facing challenges in rebuilding their lives as they encounter difficulties securing fresh food. Supply chain disruptions stemming from roads remaining cut off are affecting operations at grocery and convenience stores.

The New Year's Day earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast sparked fires and left a trail of destruction, with 15 people still unaccounted for.

The site of a gutted market in Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, is pictured on Feb. 1, 2024, a month after a blaze broke out following a strong earthquake. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Ishikawa Gov. Hiroshi Hase said the prefecture would promote rebuilding through a newly established reconstruction headquarters. The central government plans to provide up to 6 million yen ($41,000) each for elderly households.

"We must walk forward to allow those who died to continue living in our memories," Hase said during a press conference at the prefectural office.

The governor acknowledged that moving evacuees to hotels and other accommodations from evacuation centers has not gone smoothly and apologized, saying there have been communication mishaps in sharing information.

Fumio Ishibe, who evacuated to a community center after his home was damaged in Wajima, one of the hardest hit cities in the prefecture, said, "It's been one month, but nothing has changed, not even the roads."

The 75-year-old said he could not sleep due to the stress and that his body ached from sleeping on a thin mattress day after day.

"Those who evacuated are becoming quieter. We are all reaching our limits," he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, around 8,000 people continue to shelter in temporary evacuation centers such as gymnastics halls. Ishikawa Prefecture has secured the use of 8,000 existing temporary housing units for evacuees, including in nearby prefectures.

Collapsed houses in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, are pictured on Feb. 1, 2024, a month after a powerful earthquake struck the central Japan city. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

In addition, 18 temporary housing units were built in Wajima, with 58 people from 18 households set to move in on Saturday, while 40 units are expected to be completed in Suzu next Tuesday.

Volunteer work has also been expanding in the area, with Suzu, which previously had not sought help from volunteers, asking those who have registered in advance to assist in removing debris from Saturday.

A total of around 150 people per day are expected to volunteer in Suzu and other areas.

Meanwhile, disruptions in logistics are hindering the region's return to normalcy, as local shops face a shortage of items to sell. Many have also suffered damage to their premises and have employees personally affected by the disaster.

"We would like to eat more vegetables and fish for a balanced diet, but it's difficult to procure them," said Miki Okagaki, 44, who lives in Wajima with her family.

Although she is concerned about her family's health, she said most of her dishes consist of packaged foods as she cannot secure fresh produce.

FamilyMart Co., the sole major convenience store chain that operates in the northern region of the peninsula, has yet to reopen 13 of its stores located in Suzu and nearby areas, while two in Wajima operate just a few hours a day.

"We are facing constraints in our ability to provide a stable supply of goods and personnel due to (poor) road and weather conditions," a company official said, noting that returning to regular operational hours would likely take time.

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