BANGKOK, Thailand - Barriers protecting Bangkok from Thailand's worst floods in half a century held firm Sunday as the government said some water drenching provinces just north of the capital had begun to recede.
That fueled hopes that Bangkok, a city of nine million, could escape unharmed. But outside the capital, thousands of people remain displaced and hungry residents struggle to survive in half-submerged towns.
On Sunday, the military rescued terrified civilians from the rooftops of flooded buildings in the city of Ayutthaya, one of the country's hardest-hit.
Bangkok has averted calamity so far thanks to a complex system of flood walls, canals, dikes, and underground tunnels that are helping divert vast pools of runoff south into the Gulf of Thailand. But if any of the defenses fail, floodwaters could sweep through the city.