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Sunday, September 26, 1999 Published at 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Two pulled alive from Taiwan rubble

Sun Chi-feng is lowered on a stretcher from the building

Two brothers have been pulled alive from the rubble of a building in Taipei - five days after Taiwan's devastating earthquake.

Quake in Taiwan
Rescuers said several more people may be alive in the collapsed hotel-apartment block.

The mayor of Taipei, Ma Ying-jeou, said the brothers had "survived by eating rotten apples from a refrigerator buried with them, and drinking water we sprayed on the site and their own urine".

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy: "The spirits of rescue workers have been boosted"
Engineering student Sun Chi-kwang, 20, appeared unscathed following his ordeal and chatted animatedly with rescuers after he was pulled out by a crane.

Minutes later his brother Sun Chi-feng, 25, was lifted out on a stretcher. His eyes were blindfolded to protect them from the daylight.

The brother's father said: "I've been waiting for this moment. I haven't slept since the disaster."

Mr Ma said the brothers had kept their spirits up by continuing to talk to each other after the quake.

Rescue teams had said it would be a ''miracle'' if they were to discover any more survivors after pulling a six-year-old boy from beneath rubble on Friday.

Second quake

The latest rescues came as a massive aftershock rocked Taiwan shortly before 0800 local time - the biggest since last Tuesday's quake which killed 2,000 people.

At 6.8 on the Richter Scale, the latest tremor qualified as a powerful earthquake in its own right. At least four people are reported to have been killed.

The tremor brought down a 15-storey apartment building in central Taiwan and caused several landslides, according to reports.

Emergency powers

The aftershock came less than 24 hours after the president announced a six-month state of emergency to tackle the aftermath of the quake.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy: ''We felt the tremor in our hotel about 150 miles away''
This will allow the government to bypass parliament in allocating funds and using the army to carry out evacuations.

"Measures must be adopted immediately to help suffering families, to relocate the refugees and to help with reconstruction," President Lee Teng-hui said.

Vice Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said Taichung and Nantou counties, as well as parts of other central counties, had been declared disaster areas.

An estimated 100,000 people have been left homeless by the earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

[ image: Mourning the dead amidst the rubble]
Mourning the dead amidst the rubble
More than 8,500 people were injured and over 6,000 buildings destroyed.

Officials at one point cited a death toll of nearly 2,200, but this was reduced to around 2,000 after it emerged some victims had been double counted.

There have been at least 60 major shockwaves and more than 6,300 tremors since Tuesday's quake.

Three people have been detained on suspicion of causing death through negligent building practices, and prosecutors say more arrests are expected.

Government building officials have acknowledged that during a construction boom over the past decade, poor workmanship and the use of cheap materials was common.

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