9/11 Anniversary: 16,000 First Responders Eligible For Pay-Out Over Mounting Toll

17 years on from 9/11, the toll mounts as thousands of Ground Zero's first responders feel the health impacts.

It’s almost two decades since one of the worst terror attacks in US history, but the nation’s first responders are still struggling with the health impacts.

Almost 3,000 people died in the September 11 terrorist attack, some at the World Trade Centre and others in the Pentagon attack, but thousands are still struggling from the health impacts of the rescue effort at Ground Zero, with many getting sick or dying from resulting injuries.

From cancer to mental health to respiratory and other illnesses resulting from exposure to the toxic debris from the collapsed towers, thousands of people affected by the attack are still struggling.

An unidentified firefighter walks away from the site of the attack on September 11, 2001.

As of 31st August, the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund has found almost 21,000 claimants eligible for compensation, awarding more than $4.3 billion.

More than 3,000 people have made claims for cancer conditions, while another 13,300 have made claims for non-cancer conditions.

Among the claimants are 20,154 personal injury claims and 720 deceased claims.

Over 16,500 Ground Zero first responders have been deemed eligible for compensation pay-outs, while 8,776 individuals have made claims which are currently in review.

A firefighter breaks down at the site of the 9.11 attack.

Claims deemed eligible have come from a variety of individuals, from New York City, Pentagon and Shanksville first responders to cleaners, residents and those who attend a childcare or adult care facility in the 'exposure zone.'

Since the attack 17 years ago, more than 150 New York Police Department officers have died of associated illnesses resulting from the debris from the towers.

Over 180 firefighters have died of related illnesses, 18 of whom died in the past 12 months.

Ceremonies will be held across the globe today, including the annual commemoration ceremony in New York in which the names of victims will be read out to commemorate the lives lost both during and after the attacks.