The United Nations says 409 bodies have been removed from the rubble. More than 600 are still missing while hundreds of victims were buried en masse.

Men wait beside empty graves for the coffins of mudslide victims on August 17, 2017 at Waterloo cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Men wait beside empty graves for the coffins of mudslide victims on August 17, 2017 at Waterloo cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone. (AFP)

The disaster began on Monday when heavy rains hit the West African nation's capital of Freetown and the partial collapse of a hillside triggered mudslides, engulfing homes and wreaking destruction.

The United Nations humanitarian agency put the death toll at 409 on Friday.

Mass burials begun as an estimated 600 people remain missing. 

People continue to search through tons of mud and debris amid the remains of mangled buildings.

Rainfall also remains in the forecast for the coming days, slowing recovery efforts.

Coffins with the remains of the victims of a mudslide are prepared to be carried to the cemetery on trucks in Freetown on August 17, 2017.
Coffins with the remains of the victims of a mudslide are prepared to be carried to the cemetery on trucks in Freetown on August 17, 2017. (AFP)

Sierra Leone buried at least 300 victims of devastating floods on Thursday, as fears grew of more mudslides.

Men disembark coffins of mudslide victims from a truck on August 17, 2017 at the Paloko cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Men disembark coffins of mudslide victims from a truck on August 17, 2017 at the Paloko cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone. (AFP)

The government has hired 600 gravediggers for burials in a cemetery that holds victims of the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak that killed thousands in the country.

Men carry bury coffins of mudslide victims on August 17, 2017 at the Paloko cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Men carry bury coffins of mudslide victims on August 17, 2017 at the Paloko cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone. (AFP)

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma joined mourners for burials on Thursday. 

Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma joined by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the burial of victims, August 17, 2017
Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma joined by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the burial of victims, August 17, 2017 (Reuters)

Many people have been unable to find loved ones as many victims were too mangled and decomposed to be identified, but the government has vowed to hold respectful burials for all.

Mourners look on as victims of a mudslide are buried at the Paloko Cemetery in Waterloo on August 17, 2017.
Mourners look on as victims of a mudslide are buried at the Paloko Cemetery in Waterloo on August 17, 2017. (AFP)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies