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Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Taiwan mourns for 2,000 dead

A deceased child's toys make up part of a special memorial in Taipei

Taiwan is beginning the traditional seventh-day mourning ceremonies for more than 2,000 victims of last week's devastating earthquake.

Quake in Taiwan
Powerful aftershocks and tremors continued to be felt in Taiwan as the ceremonies got under way, with Buddhist monks chanting mournfully and bereaved families wailing loudly and giving vent to their loss.

Local tradition demands "First Seven" ceremonies every seven days in the coming 49 days, so that the dead can leave the human world.


The BBC's Duncan Kennedy: ''We felt the tremor in our hotel about 150 miles away''
As rescue teams give up hope of finding survivors trapped in the rubble, Taiwan's financial institutions have resumed trading.

More than 7,000 aftershocks and tremors have rocked Taiwan following the 7.6 magnitude quake last week.


Duncan Kennedy: The brothers' rescue boosted spirits
A quake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit the central Nantou and Taichung counties at midday (O400 GMT) on Monday, the Seismology Centre said.

On Sunday a 6.8 magnitude aftershock - a powerful earthquake in its own right - killed at least four people and brought down a 15-storey apartment building in central Taiwan.


[ image:  ]
Only the improbable survival of two brothers, trapped under rubble for 130 hours before being rescued, lifted morale.

The Sun brothers say they survived by eating a few apples, drinking their own urine and playing cards in the small space where they were trapped.

Economic fallout

The Taipei stock exchange has opened for the first time since the quake, finishing down 2.7% on the last day's trading a week ago.

The government sought to contain any panic selling by announcing emergency limits on how far shares could fall in any one session for the next two weeks.


[ image: Smart investors now want to invest in companies that will rebuild Taiwan]
Smart investors now want to invest in companies that will rebuild Taiwan
Finance Minister Paul Chiu said earthquake damage had not affected most economic activities.

"Major production has been recovered," Mr Chiu said. "Currently the temporary measures were sought to sustain market order."

On Sunday President Lee Teng-hui announced a six-month state of emergency to tackle the aftermath of the quake.

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," the president said.

Disaster areas

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


[ image: Rescuers are not expecting to find any more survivors]
Rescuers are not expecting to find any more survivors
An estimated 100,000 people have been left homeless by the earthquake. More than 8,500 people have been injured and more than 6,000 buildings destroyed.

Officials have listed 162 people as missing or trapped in rubble and 133 are stranded in remote areas.

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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