Pictures of prosperity contrast with hardships in North Korea

Just days after reports of deadly flooding in North Korea, state-run media released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un standing amidst a bountiful harvest. It's an image that contrasts drastically with reports of widespread devastation and famine.

UN reports worst flooding in the country in over 70 years


Kim Jong-un's smiley farm inspection shot a stark contrast to grim UN report. 

On Tuesday, North Korea's state media outlet released photos of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un inspecting Farm No. 1116 at an undisclosed location inside the Hermit Kingdom.

The shots are undated and look much like other harvest-time photos KCNA has put out in years past. The shot at top, and the one with the corn, are new. The one in the orchard is from this time last year.


The message behind the pictures is the same — an outward projection of prosperity despite reports to the contrary — but this year's release coincides with the worst flooding in the country since 1945, the year the Korean Peninsula was partitioned, and appears in stark contrast to the picture painted by a UN report released Monday.


North Korea hit by worst flooding in over 70 years.

Flooding in the northeast from heavy rain killed 133 people while 395 are missing. As many as 107,000 others have been displaced while upwards of 35,000 homes and other critical infrastructure were destroyed, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

No photos of the floods were released, but ones like this, of North Korean soldiers cooking out on an island in the Yalu River on Sunday, contrast markedly from the bounty depicted in the photos of Kim.

(Greg Baker/AFP/Getty)

The UN said the death toll and number of missing people were based on North Korean government data, but KCNA news did not give a specific death toll, reporting only "huge losses" in the worst "climatic phenomenon" in more than 70 years.

The flooding is centred near the Tumen River, which forms North Korea's northeast border between China and Russia. The shot below is of North Koreans fishing in the Yalu River, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong in the south, on Sunday.

Widespread deforestation for fuel and farming makes the impoverished state prone to natural disasters, especially floods.

(Greg Baker/AFP/Getty)

Bombers flew near North Korea on Tuesday.

A week after North Korea's fifth and largest nuclear test, the U.S. flew two B-1 bombers and jet fighters near the border in a show of force and solidarity with South Korea and Japan, which also flew jets alongside its allies.

From the north, KCNA news said public anger was "exploding like a volcano" over Washington's dispatch of bombers to South Korea.

(Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)

Soldiers, citizens gather in Pyongyang to applaud the warhead test. 

The U.S. said it would work with China, North Korea's major diplomatic ally, on a resolution that will include new sanctions. China for its part urged restraint among all parties.

The two Koreas remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

(Kim Won-jin/AFP/Getty)

In August, there was a beer festival in Pyongyang.

The first event of its kind in North Korea was held last month in the capital and, according to one participant interviewed by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, the beer was "really refreshing."

(Kim Won-jin/AFP/Getty)

With files from Reuters