Since a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula and its vicinity on Jan. 1, one question may have been at the forefront of many people's minds: What can I do to help?

Houses reduced to rubble and continuous water outages are just some of the challenges facing the community along its road to recovery. Close to 240 lives were also lost, while thousands of others remain displaced.

The Ishikawa Prefectural Government initially asked people to avoid coming as volunteers until local municipalities were ready to accept them. There was a concern that a large influx of people could further congest roads and hamper relief efforts to affected areas, including the delivery of supplies and the transport of patients to hospitals.