As President Donald Trump continues to assemble a "war cabinet" and further fuel conflict across the globe, a new app from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides a frightening, haunting glimpse of war's impact on children.
Called Enter the Room, the "augmented reality experience" puts users in the bedroom of a young girl, where, over a fast-forwarded four-year span, they can see how brutal conflict in her city transforms the space from being a place of security and joy to one of sadness, and traumatizes her emotionally and physically.
"Conflict has devastating impacts on communities, and especially on children. We hope the story told through this immersive app will give people new insights into the realities of war," Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC said in a press statement. "It is a vivid reminder of how urban warfare destroys children's bedrooms, their homes, and—tragically—their lives."
A 51-second trailer for the app previews the experience:
As the United Nations refugee agency wrote on Twitter: "For millions of children living in war zones, this isn't augmented reality— it's reality."
Among the chilling details are pictures the child has drawn.
Her depiction of three happy animals in a car hung above her bed is disappears. New drawings appear in the room as the time-span goes on. They portray a tank in the street, bombs overhead, and the wounding or killing of her mother.
Other details show war's destruction. Gone are electricity and running water. A small lantern next to a make-shift hideaway is seen on the floor. Bowls of water appear on the table. The window is destroyed from a blast. Crutches appear next to the bed. And then a wheelchair appears.
The girl is never seen, and at the end, with the room in total tatters, one is left wondering if she joins the ranks of the countless many whose lives are lost to war.
In a tweet promoting the app, the ICRC lists 21 cities across the globe, including Fallujah and Congo's Kasai, and declares "The list goes on... This is what happens when the cities become battlefields:"
The list goes on...
— ICRC (@ICRC) March 20, 2018
The free app, designed by digital innovation agency Nedd, is available on iTunes.