More deaths from 9/11-linked illnesses than in attack, US report finds

In a photo from Sept 13, 2001, fire and rescue workers search through the rubble of the World Trade Centre in New York. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP) - More people are believed to have died from illnesses related to 9/11 than were killed on the actual day of the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, according to a report published on Tuesday (Sept 8).

The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has received more than 67,000 claims since it reopened in 2011.

Nearly 3,900 of those claims were filed on behalf of someone who is alleged to have died of a 9/11-related illness, the VCF said in a report.

"That means that the number of people believed to have died of a 9/11-related illness subsequent to 9/11 has now exceeded the number of people who died on 9/11," said Rupa Bhattacharyya, the "special master" who administers the fund.

"More people are now believed to have died of 9/11-related illnesses than were lost on September 11, 2001," she said.

Nearly 50 per cent of those filing claims in recent years have cancer.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when Al-Qaeda hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Centre towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. Another plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

A compensation fund was created immediately following the attacks for the families of victims.

In 2011, another fund was created for first responders and others suffering from chronic health conditions arising from the 9/11 attacks.

The VCF has issued compensation of more than US$8.95 billion (S$12 billion) to more than 40,000 individuals.

US President Joe Biden is to visit the sites of the 9/11 attacks on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary.

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