Today, we take a moment around the world to commemorate those who have been killed by landmines. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines estimates that landmine explosions caused injury or death to 4,000 to 5,000 people just in 2011 and that millions more suffer from the agricultural, economic, and psychological impacts of the weapon. UNICEF notes that 30 to 40% of landmine victims are younger than 15.
Landmines are used during times of war, and can lie dormant for decades near the surface of the earth until they are triggered by a person or animal. There are between 70 and 80 million landmines in the ground in one-third of the world’s nations and, while landmines cost only $3 each to create, they can cost up to $1000 to remove. Because of this, people can still become casualties of war long after a truce has been secured. Additionally, landmines restrict population movement and land cultivation and keep infrastructure from being repaired. These problems are amplified in post-conflict and impoverished areas, where landmines are most often found.