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Living victims: Designing loss-management

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SUMMARY:

In the fine print of an airline compensation package Congress is considering are details that may shape the way victims of the attacks and their families will be compensated.

Complex formulas are still being hammered out, but there's a general outline of what families can expect. Under the legislation being considered, the families of those killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania sites where terrorists crashed airliners last week -- along with those who were injured in the crashes, would have two options: They could decide to forgo the right to sue the airlines and instead go to a government fund for compensation; or they could sue.

And even as such issues are debated on Capitol Hill in Washington, the 10th day since the attacks finds more New Yorkers gingerly conceding that hope has all but evaporated for the discovery of any survivors in the World Trade Center wreckage. The showers rained down on New York overnight, creating a muddy, wet debris area, but that hasn't deterred crews from their efforts to clear debris and search for victims.

New York's mayor, Rudy Giuliani says that in the World Trade Center attacks, 6,333 people are missing and presumed dead, and 6,291 have been injured. The mayor says 241 sets of remains have been found -- medical examiners have identified at least 170 bodies. The death toll at the Pentagon is 189 including the 64 people who died on American Airline Flight 77.


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Impact

New York's mayor hasn't declared the rescue effort in his city over, and Friday Giuliani raised the possibility that such a declaration may never be made. "I think what will happen is that over a period of time, the emphasis will change," he said in his weekly radio call-in show. "This will be a search-and-rescue mission for quite some time."

The showers were slowing down the search effort, Giuliani said, because they increased the danger of slipping for the workers, their equipment and the debris they're removing. But the mayor predicted improved weather this weekend will help them make "a lot of progress."

New York Gov. George Pataki earlier this week announced free college education to family members of victims who attend schools in New York, state or city. (More information on burial expenses, insurance payments on life insurance, and student assistance)

UPDATE:

Northwest Airlines has become the latest to announce layoffs in the aftermath of the events of September 11. Northwest said Friday it will cut 10,000 jobs and reduce scheduled service by 20 percent, becoming the latest major carrier to announce sharp cutbacks after last week's terrorist attacks. The nation's No. 4 airline said 9,000 contract and 1,000 management employees will be affected.

This, even as congressional leaders and White House officials agreed early Friday on an airline assistance package. That package is designed to limit expensive lawsuits that might otherwise bankrupt American and United Airlines -- the two companies whose planes were hijacked and destroyed last week by terrorists. The negotiators agreed to immediately give $5 billion in cash and $10 billion in loan guarantees to the airline industry. Announced airline layoffs now come close to 80,000. (Click here for more)

KEY QUESTIONS:

What might the lasting psychological effects be on survivors of the attacks?

What will be the toll on families affected by the mass airline industry layoffs resulting from the attacks?

How long will it take for relatives to receive confirmation of the fate of the missing? (Click here for more)

How will the remains pulled from the rubble be identified? (Click here for more)

IMPACT:

The nation struggles now to come to terms not only with the loss of so many loved ones and colleagues, but also with fear. The "living victims" are everywhere -- workers being laid off, former travelers afraid to fly, children with bad dreams, hoteliers, restaurateurs, investors. Even as the awful death toll's climb slows, the vast numbers of walking wounded mount.






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