BANGKOK could be devastated if a special flood wall breaks under the pressure of record rainfall, the capital's city clerk claimed yesterday. The country's worst flooding for at least a dozen years was only being held at bay by a 2.2 metre temporary barrier, said Prasert Samalabha. Heavy rainfall in northern Thailand is testing the capacity of rivers and canals to carry floodwater away from the capital. The peak risk may come early next week when the spring tide is at its height and the northern floodwaters are still bringing record volumes down into the Chao Praya basin, according to the director of Bangkok's drainage office, Mana Nopphan. Residents of eastern Bangkok have complained that embankments holding back water from the inner city are already causing floods in their areas. Yesterday, Mr Prasert admitted that about 1,000 Bangkok Metropolitan Authority workers were being used to keep an eye on the creaking flood barriers and to help prevent irate local residents from pulling them down. King Bhumibol Adulyadej last month tore into Government plans to tackle damage by a method of simple compensation. He labelled that approach 'silly' and warned that it could foster disputes. The king's recent outbursts - he has also railed against corruption and the capital's dire transport system - reflect unease over the Government's generally mediocre administrative skills. Sixty-seven provinces are reported to have been inundated by floods, with water covering millions of hectares of farmland. Villagers in Prae province in northern Thailand blocked roads last week to protest that local authorities had offered no practical help.