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Fatal flood leaves the Saudis asking when their prince will surrender

When it rained at dawn, Aamir Farouk was prepared for the worst. He left in his red jeep to join a voluntary rescue effort, knowing that Jeddah could soon be under water. He was right: 15 minutes from home, he found a dozen cars that were already stranded by the growing flood.

Saudi Arabia may be under a new administration, but the scene in its second largest city was familiar. Jeddah was hit by floods in 2009 and 2011, killing more than 100 people. The Saudis blamed corruption and poor infrastructure: billions of riyals were spent; somehow he could not buy a decent drainage system.

Jeddah was hit by floods in 2009, 2011 and again in 2017.

Photographer: Vivian Nereim

The November 21 replay left them wondering how much has changed now that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge. There were at least three deaths. Farouk, 28, said he spent all day towing people to safety. As the storm passed and frustrated residents waded or paddled through the streets, many asked the same question and came to the same answer.

"It's been almost ten years since the last flood," said Abdulrahman Ashgan, a 31-year-old coffee owner, whose roof caused a leak despite the fact that there are seven floors above. "After that there were investigations and blah, blah, blah." What happened? Nothing. "

Officers and businessmen were imprisoned during an investigation into the first floods in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed reopened the investigation, part of what is presented as a broader campaign to eradicate corruption, which has stopped dozens of royals and businessmen.

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