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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 03:14 GMT 04:14 UK
New Yorkers fear attacks
The World Trade Center site 10 days after the attack
The attack claimed nearly 3,000 lives in New York

Most New Yorkers think their city is likely to be the target of a new terrorist attack.


There is still a lot of fear out there, but there is a sense of realism too

Polling expert Julie Weprin
Their fears are revealed as the United States prepares to mark the first anniversary of 11 September.

According to an opinion poll by the New York Daily News, more than 70% of those who live in the city feel that another attack is either "very likely" or "somewhat likely".

The survey shows they are concerned about a variety of possible terrorist acts.

Of those questioned, more than a quarter think car bombs or suicide bombings are the most likely threats.

But biological and chemical weapons are also regarded as a risk, while some even fear a nuclear attack on the city.

'Sense of realism'

Yet despite the widespread feeling that the terrorists are likely to return, most New Yorkers say they feel as safe in their city as anywhere else in the US.

Polling results
72% polled think another attack "very likely" or "somewhat likely"
28% polled fear car or suicide bombs
49% polled against US military action in Iraq
Results from NY Daily News poll of 503 people, error margin +/- 4.5%

And it seems that very few have changed the pattern of their daily lives to avoid areas of perceived risk such as skyscrapers, the subway, or tourist attractions.

"There is still a lot of fear out there, but there is a sense of realism too," polling expert Julie Weprin told the newspaper.

"It is a well-informed, grounded fear, combined with a determination to go on with their lives. That is an area of real consensus among New Yorkers."

Psychological problems

The poll also shows that for many in the city, who witnessed the horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center, time has indeed been a healer.

Just over one third of those questioned said that while they initially suffered from stress - including depression, anxiety and nightmares - the symptoms have now disappeared.

But 12 months on, one person in five admits to still having psychological problems.

More women than men are still experiencing stress, and problems are most acute among people who live and work in Lower Manhattan, in the vicinity of Ground Zero.

Ground Zero

A majority of those polled said they feared that environmental problems, created by the collapse of the Twin Towers, would have a lasting impact on the health of people in the downtown area.

The former World Trade Center
New Yorkers are divided over how to redevelop Ground Zero

The poll reveals that New Yorkers are divided over the issue of how to redevelop the Ground Zero site, and the balance that should be struck between new buildings and a memorial to those who died.

A majority is clear, however, that nothing should be built on the two one-acre "footprints" of the Twin Towers.

But two-thirds say that victims' families should be involved only in discussions for a memorial, rather than the future of the entire site.

Surviving trauma

In the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September, there were fears of a backlash against Americans of Arabic descent.

But the Daily News reports that just over half of those polled were opposed to any form of "racial profiling" by law enforcement agencies.

And with speculation continuing about a possible attack by the US on Iraq, New Yorkers seem far from convinced about the wisdom of military action.

Almost half the sample said they were against force being used to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power.

This is in sharp contrast to a recent national poll, which suggested that two-thirds of the country would support such action.

Overall, the poll paints a picture of a city that is still recovering from the traumas of last September, but New Yorkers are far from agreed about what should follow this week's ceremonies.


New York despatches

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