Evacuees from areas hit by the Jan. 1 earthquake, which killed over 200 people in central Japan, began moving into the first batch of temporary homes completed in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

Wajima, one of the areas hit hardest by the magnitude 7.6 quake, said 18 families will receive keys to their temporary homes, which each have a kitchen, bath and air conditioners.

Naomi Oshita, 53, who evacuated with her 76-year-old mother and her cat, said her mother will move into one of the newly completed homes alone.

"It will take longer for a pet-friendly temporary home to become available. People sleep together in (our) evacuation center with no partitions, which raises concern about infectious diseases, so I am relieved that my mother can move," she said.

The city government has received over 4,000 individual requests for temporary homes, but construction of just 550 units has begun so far in the city, which has also been ravaged by fires and is still struggling to clean up collapsed houses.

According to the Ishikawa Prefectural Government, 49,440 homes were destroyed or damaged by the Jan. 1 quake and aftershocks and over 14,400 people remain in evacuation centers as of Friday.

Running water has yet to be restored in most areas of Wajima and neighboring Suzu at the tip of the Noto Peninsula.

Suzu expects to have 40 temporary homes to be ready for its residents on Tuesday.

Ishikawa estimates that over 9,000 such units will be needed for its residents who are unable to return to their homes.