The war ended. The casualties didn’t.

Fatma Mahmud, who lost a leg to a land mine in Western Sahara, walks during her rehabilitation exercises. (© AP Images)

In 1975, Morocco and Mauritania went to war over Western Sahara. A truce was negotiated in 1991, but that didn’t stop the devastation. Fifteen years later, Fatma Mahmud stepped on a buried land mine and lost her left leg.

She’s not alone. Every year, thousands of people, many of them children, lose their limbs or their lives to land mines.

There are an estimated 110 million land mines still buried around the world. They are a lingering legacy of wars, persisting decades after soldiers have laid down their weapons and leaders have made peace.

A U.N. peacekeeper during a mine clearance operation in southern Lebanon (© AP Images)

The good news is that land mine clearance is saving lives and limbs. In 1999, land mines killed or maimed nearly 9,100 people. Thanks to the efforts of the international community, that number dropped to just over 3,300 in 2013.

Since 1993, the United States has given $2.4 billion and worked with 60 partner organizations to dispose of land mines in more than 90 countries. As a result, 15 of those countries — from Honduras to Tunisia to Rwanda — are now free from land mines. The United States has also funded medical and rehabilitation services for more than 250,000 land mine survivors around the world.

The U.S. efforts extend to its own stockpiles. In September 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would no longer acquire anti-personnel mines and would begin destroying the bulk of its land mine stockpiles.

“These steps reflect America’s commitment to the global humanitarian movement,” Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in December 2014 to mark the release of the State Department’s report “To Walk the Earth in Safety.” “But this work is far from finished. … We can do more so that others will never suffer the same fate — and so that millions can walk the earth in safety.”

April 4 is the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.