9/11 aftermath diseases could kill more than the attacks, says compensation counsel

The special master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund said on Tuesday that it is possible the number of those killed in the aftermath of the terror attacks could exceed the number of those killed on the day of the terrorist attacks 17 years ago. 

"We've compensated almost 500 claims from diseased claimants. The number that we've heard is that there's almost 2,000 people who have passed away as a result of the [aftermath of] 9/11," Rupa Bhattacharyya told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

Bhattacharyya added that it is difficult to predict concrete numbers. 

"We don't know whether or not at the end of the day the number who passed away in the aftermath is actually going to exceed the number of people who actually passed away on that day, but it's certainly possible given what we're seeing," she said. 

Nearly 10,000 first responders who were in the vicinity of the World Trade Center during the attacks, have since been diagnosed with cancer, according to the Westchester Journal News.

Programs such as the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program have been launched as a means to help treat first responders and victims dealing with health problems in the aftermath of the attacks. 

The WTC Health Program was established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. 

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was reopened in 2011 to compensate first responders and those with health problems as a result of the attacks. Bhattacharyya was appointed to oversee legal aspects of the program in 2016.

The fund is set to expire in December 2020, and many have expressed concerns that the money could run out before the 2020 deadline. 

— Julia Manchester