The death toll from Sierra Leone’s mudslides is now above 400, the United Nations said.

The UN humanitarian agency said 409 bodies have been found after flooding and mudslides in the West African nation’s capital of Freetown on Monday morning.

Burials have begun as an estimated 600 people remain missing.

Volunteers prepare graves during a mass funeral for victims  of heavy flooding and mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Volunteers prepare graves during a mass funeral for victims (Manika Kamara/AP)

People continue to search through tons of mud and debris amid the threat of further mudslides.

The government has warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack has opened.

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

A torrent of water flows through a flooded neighbourhood in Regent, east of Freetown
A torrent of water flows through a flooded neighbourhood in Regent, east of Freetown (Manika Kamara/AP)

Thousands of people have lost their homes while some critics accuse the government of not learning from past disasters.

Many poor areas are near sea level and lack good drainage.

The capital is also plagued by unregulated construction.