In the city of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, one of the most affected areas by the Jan. 1 earthquake, manholes protrude from the ground. Houses are tilted or buried halfway underground, while roads have caved in or risen up.

This is all because of liquefaction, in which the strength of soil is reduced by an earthquake, and it is hampering relief efforts aimed at restoring infrastructure in the affected areas.

Continued aftershocks — even more than a month after the disaster — are also not helping.