(Reuters) - Eleven years after the September 11, 2001, attacks, New Yorkers will mark the anniversary on Tuesday against a backdrop of health concerns for emergency workers and a feud over financing that has stopped construction of the $1 billion Ground Zero museum.
But for many of the families of 9/11 victims and ailing Ground Zero workers, the redevelopment disputes are a disheartening sideshow to the rising loss of human lives.
When the 110-storey Twin Towers came down, thousands of tons of steel, concrete, window glass and asbestos came down with it. While thousands of gallons (liters) of flaming jet fuel and burning plastics released deadly carcinogens.
Last week, the New York City Fire Department added nine names to the 55 already etched on a wall honoring members who have died of illnesses related to Ground Zero rescue and recovery work.
Some estimates put the overall death toll from 9/11-related illness at more than 1,000. Nationwide, at least 20,000 Ground Zero workers are being treated and 40,000 are being monitored by the World Trade Center Health Program.
"We're burying guys left and right," said Nancy Carbone, executive director of Friends of Firefighters, a Brooklyn-based non-profit that helps treat first responders. "This is an ongoing epidemic."