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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Victims' families to get compensation
Photos of those missing in the World Trade Center outside Bellevue Hospital, New York
Many bodies may never be found
The families of those missing or killed in the World Trade Center bombing will receive help towards regaining control of their lives on Wednesday.

Teams of lawyers will be on hand to begin the process of obtaining death certificates, which are essential to sorting out a family's financial affairs.

Victims comfort each other
Collecting death certificates will be painful for the families
Normally it would take three years to get a death certificate in a New York court, but there are exceptions in what are called "extraordinary circumstances".

Around 6,500 people are still missing and the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, has warned that many bodies may never be found.

But families will need death certificates to claim benefits and compensation, get insurance claims paid and even have access to bank accounts.

Red Cross aid

The Red Cross has also announced that lump sums are to be paid for funeral expenses and initial living costs , which are expected to exceed $100m.

But Mayor Giuliani has acknowledged that some families may feel it is too early to focus on such practical matters.

"I know this is a very painful and very difficult process, and again I emphasise, this is up to the family to decide whether this is a step they want to take at this time," he said.

He has told the families that chances of now finding anyone alive in the rubble were slight. No-one has been rescued since the day after the attack.

But for some relatives it is difficult to physically live their lives without some sort of financial support.

"We need to pay rent and for baby formula and lots of credit card bills," said Cindy Gomes, 33, who lost her husband, a banker, in the attack.

"Our life was normal before, but now it's all on me. I work part-time, but I can't work that much with a six-month-old baby."


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