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Anger spills over in Thailand over flood

Thai shoppers walk in a shopping mall in Bangkok on Sunday. Most of the water has been kept out of this part of the area.

Associated Press

Thai shoppers walk in a shopping mall in Bangkok on Sunday. Most of the water has been kept out of this part of the area.

BANGKOK — Shielded by hundreds of thousands of sandbags piled shoulder high along the city's outskirts, most of Bangkok remained dry on Sunday, allaying fears for now that the massive metropolis would be swamped by monsoon floodwaters.

But along the floodwalls, which ring the city and are patrolled by soldiers and police officers around the clock, there was a mixture of relief and resentment.

"I am just hoping this floodwall will break," said Seksan Sonsak, a 43-year-old factory worker. Seksan, like several million other Thais, has found himself on the wrong side of the wall.

The sandbags hastily erected to protect Bangkok have trapped a giant pocket of floodwater that extends for dozens of miles. By sparing the low-lying capital, which lies in the delta of the country's main river system, officials sacrificed the provinces to the north.

"I understand that you want to save the majority," said Seksan, whose house is inundated with brown water reeking of rotting fish. "But no one seems to think of us, the minority."

The flooding, the worst in at least half a century, has affected 2 million people and left close to 400 dead, many by drowning or electrocution.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra thanked the residents of Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok, last week for their "sacrifice."

"If we let the floodwall collapse or if the sluices fail, the water will burst into Bangkok, the capital of our nation," she said. "Foreigners will lose confidence in us and wonder why we cannot save our own capital."

On Sunday, Yingluck said she was confident that the situation was improving because the floodwalls were mostly holding up.

Anger spills over in Thailand over flood 10/30/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 30, 2011 8:46pm]
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