Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Rescue workers have unearthed 499 dead bodies since last week’s devastating landslide near the Sierra Leone capital Freetown, the city’s chief coroner told Reuters on Sunday.

One of Africa’s worst flooding-related disasters in years occurred when the side of Mount Sugar Loaf collapsed on Monday after heavy rain, burying parts of Regent town and overwhelming relief efforts in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Authorities this week buried 461 bodies in quickly-dug graves in the nearby Waterloo cemetery, near the site of a mass burial for victims of the Ebola crisis that killed 4,000 people in the former British colony between 2014 and 2016.

Thirty-eight more bodies were found on Sunday, said chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya, bringing the official death toll to 499. They were being sent for immediate burial, he said.

The Red Cross said on Friday that over 600 are still missing.

An increasingly desperate search continued on Sunday on the steep hillside under the wet red mud, as the likelihood of finding survivors was all but extinguished. (Reuters)

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Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A volunteer and soldiers carry a victim across the mud, days following the partial collapse of a hillside that swept away hundreds of homes in a neighborhood of the capital Freetown on Aug. 19, 2017.
(Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Men wait beside empty graves for the coffins of mudslide victims on Aug. 17, 2017 at Waterloo cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone. (Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A man watches as a digger is used to clear mud and debris following the partial collapse of a hillside earlier in the week that swept away hundreds of homes in a neighborhood of the capital Freetown on Aug. 19, 2017. (Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A wall painting is seen on a wall of a room filled with debris and mud after a flash flood at Pentagon, in Freetown, Sierra Leone Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Dogs roam along the mud and debris days following the partial collapse of a hillside that swept away hundreds of homes in a neighborhood of the capital Freetown on Aug. 19, 2017.
(Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A tree trunk is seen in the window of a house left along the valley after the flash flood at Pentagon, Regent town, Sierra Leone on Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Men carry coffins of mudslide victims on Aug. 17, 2017 at Waterloo cemetery near Freetown, Sierra Leone. (Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Security forces search for bodies from the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, Aug. 15 , 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Flood level marks are seen on the wall inside a room filled with muds and debris in a house after the flash flood at Pentagon, Regent town, Sierra Leone on Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Volunteers wait at the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, Aug. 15 , 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Volunteers prepare to bury coffins during a mass funeral for victims of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent at a cemetery in Sierra Leone, Freetown, Aug. 17 , 2017. (Photo: Kabba Kargbo/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Family of victims of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent wait to identify their bodies at Connaught hospital morgue in Sierra Leone, Freetown, Aug. 16 , 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Shoes left after a flash flood during the mudslide at Pentagon, in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Security forces take a rest after searching for bodies from the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. Aug. 15 , 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Security forces remove a body from the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, Aug. 15, 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Rescue workers and Ambulances are seen outside Connaught hospital morgue in Sierra Leone, Freetown, Aug. 16, 2017. (Photo: Manika Kamara/AP)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A wall painting is seen on a wall of a room filled with debris and mud after a flash flood at Pentagon, in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nearly 500 bodies recovered from devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

A woman mourns for her son at the entrance of Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Aug. 18, 2017. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)