FREETOWN, Aug. 15, 2017 - People gather at the mudslide site in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Aug. 15, 2017. Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared seven days of mourning across the .... Image Source: Xinhua/Liu Yu/IANS

Freetown, Aug 17 : People in the Sierra Leone capital began burying victims of a mudslide and flooding that killed more than 400 people on the outskirts of Freetown, as hundreds of residents queued up to identify dead relatives.

Nearly half of the 400 people known to have died have already been buried, health officials say.

Mass burials have been postponed until Thursday to allow relatives to identify victims, BBC reported.

About 600 people are still missing following the disaster that hit the west African nation on August 14.

President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared seven days of mourning while pleading for "urgent support".

The burials involved people who had already been identified or whose bodies were badly decomposed, Freetown's chief pathologist Simeon Owizz Koroma said.

Some of the most decomposed corpses have already been buried in a mass grave in Waterloo known as the Ebola cemetery after the 2014 disease outbreak, which killed nearly 4,000 people in the country.

Volunteers said there were more bodies inside the mortuary that urgently needed to be buried because they had decomposed.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered outside the morgue at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, hoping to find the bodies of their relatives. Long lines formed in the drizzling rain as groups of about 50 were given protective gear and allowed to enter.

The visitors were asked to switch off or put away mobile phones and warned not to photograph the dead, the New York Times reported.

Many homes in Regent, on the outskirts of Freetown, were engulfed in the mudslide that hit the city on August 14 after a part of Sugar Loaf mountain collapsed following heavy rain early. Most people were asleep when disaster struck.

In a statement, think-tank the Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS) has appealed for humanitarian support for the people of Sierra Leone.

It appealed to Ghanaians and the international community to provide a helping hand in the form of materials, relief items and other donations to people in Sierra Leone.

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