Since November 19, "we have recorded 31 deaths due to the collapse of homes" in repeated downpours hitting the teeming city of 10 million people, Kinshasa's Interior Minister Emmanuel Akweti told AFP.
Most of the deaths occurred in the city's particularly impoverished southern and eastern districts, notably along the banks of the giant Congo river.
Saying more heavy rain was forecast from now until the end of December, Akweti urged people in flooded areas "to leave their homes without delay."
Kinshasa's wet season normally runs from October to May, but this year the rains began only in mid-November, with a third of the average annual rainfall -- or 450 mm (17.72 inches) of water -- falling in less than three weeks, Akweti said.
In the southeastern district of Ndanu today, people were wearing boots and in places fecal matter could be seen floating in stagnant water as sewerage overflowed.
"We are convinced the unusual rainfall is connected to climate change," Akweti said.
But one resident in Ndanu brushed off the claim, saying "Every year there's flooding, the authorities don't do anything about it, they don't care."
The city's main pumping facility has been seriously damaged by the flooding, with water supplies cut in some areas. City authorities say taps should be running by day's end.
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