How much did 9 11 survivors get

9/11: The forgotten helpers

"Some have again taken their own lives," says John Feal at the end of the small event in front of the memorial for the 9/11 first aiders in Nesconset, a small town on Long Island, about an hour's drive from Manhattan. "If you're not doing well, give me a call," says the founder of the Fealgood Foundation, which claims to have raised more than two million dollars to support sick first responders Round, in which more than 200 former firefighters and police officers sit. After the 9/11 attacks, they searched for survivors in the ruins of the Twin Towers for days, sometimes weeks, and then later for the remains of the dead.

Little help for the helpers

John Feal set up a foundation to support sick first responders

Many of the "first responders," the first responders who hold out in the scorching sun at a memorial service on the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the attacks, are seriously ill. You suffer from the so-called 9/11 diseases. In the guidelines of the "Victim Compensation Fund", which was only set up in 2011, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and severe psychological sequelae are listed, among other things.

The first responders feel that their government has treated them shabbily because they have to fight for the money for the expensive medical care to this day. One of them is Michael McPhillips, who was the port captain of the largest New York ferry fleet and who carried more than 290,000 people across the Hudson River to New Jersey with his people on the day of the attacks. "I've been unable to work since 2004. I have severe terminal liver disease," says McPhillips, without grimacing. His illness causes constant pain. Like many of the first responders, during the weeks of rescue and clean-up operations, he inhaled poisonous fumes for up to 18 hours a day, which rose from the festering ruins of the collapsed twin towers. "We knew that when we went in there. Most everyone knew, even though they told us the air was clean."

Many helpers inhaled toxic fumes for days during the rescue work

Feelings of guilt and depression

William Gardner had volunteered. He too helped rescue survivors from the rubble. Most of the time he worked without a protective mask, sometimes with a paper mask. He always felt "guilty" that he and his family were better off than all the victims. Gardner subsequently suffered from severe depression, so that he lived "almost like a prisoner in his own house" for 13 years and rarely took to the streets.

Carol Paukner served as a police officer on 9/11 and was used for evacuation in one of the twin towers. When the skyscraper collapsed, she was hit by falling debris and trapped. "I had three surgeries after 9/11, on my shoulder and knees. I have asthma and constant headaches and now they have been diagnosed with cancer," she says.

Disappointed with the government

Before 9/11 she was a healthy, athletic woman. Today she is unable to work. Like the others, she is angry and disappointed: "I wish that the government would help us 9/11 survivors more. And that they understand what we and our families have been through". Help each other, "but we have not government support. We have to fight".

Ex-captain Michael McPhillips wants a memorial for first responders

It had taken more than ten years for the government to provide money for medical care and support for the sick with the "John Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act". The law, named after a New York police officer who died of respiratory illness, expires in 2016. Exactly on the 13th anniversary of the attacks, those affected are fighting for an extension of another 25 years. The New York local politician John M. Kennedy Jr. supports the project: "In any case, I am going to Washington to fight for the extension. The time limit is absolutely unacceptable in view of the terrible suffering."

Moral duty of the representatives of the people

Most of them do not know that people not only died in the attacks, but that many are still dying from the long-term effects, says John Feal, himself a first aider. "We lost 1,500 people to diseases as a result of 9/11. Another 3,000 have cancer. Every electorate has a moral obligation to take care of these people," said Feal.

"Anyone who receives government grants receives comprehensive medical care," says Michael Crane of Deutsche Welle. The doctor organizes help for patients with specific 9/11 diseases who are cared for in special clinics. Almost 68,000 people affected have so far seen a doctor: "These include the first aiders, the firefighters, people from the neighborhood or former residents from the area around the collapsed twin towers." And Crane expects even more potentially endangered people in the waiting rooms: "If we assume a total of 90,000 people who are affected, we still have 22,000 who did not come." Crane encourages her to see a doctor as soon as possible, "then maybe we can still prevent cancer". In the next few weeks, the 9/11 clinics would launch a new program to record those at particular risk earlier, according to the doctor.

Ex-captain Michael McPhillips wants more than medical assistance. "As a first aider, I don't feel appreciated," he says in front of the entrance to the new 9/11 Museum in New York. "Right here there should be a memorial for the first aiders. Because they die like flies."