Churches across Sierra Leone held special services Sunday in memory of those killed in mudslides and flooding earlier this week, as hospital officials announced the toll had risen to nearly 500 bodies collected.

More than 600 people remain missing and rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing each day. The death toll earlier stood at 450.

The county's Inter-Religious Council called for the services to be held Sunday in honour of the deceased, as special prayers and recitals were offered in mosques Friday and Sunday

The preacher at Buxton Memorial Methodist Church in the capital of Freetown offered a sermon that looked at mankind's contribution to the disaster, as a gospel band played the song Papa God Sorry for Salone (Sierra Leone).

Large-scale-burials have taken place all this week amid rainy weather that threatened further mudslides.


Workers have been digging graves at the Paloko cemetery in Waterloo, Sierra Leone for victims of the flooding and mudslides. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters )

The government of the impoverished West African nation in recent days has warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack has opened. Thousands of people live in areas at risk and the main focus is making sure they leave before further disaster, authorities have told local media.

Aid groups are providing clean water as a health crisis looms.

"Water sources have been contaminated" and that officials "fear for an outbreak of waterborne diseases," said Saidu Kanu, country director for World Hope International.

Foreign aid from the rest of the world is being sent to Freetown, said authorities.


Widow Fatoumata Dioumbouya speaks to journalists about the loss of her husband in Freetown, following heavy rains, flooding and mudslides which have claimed more than 450 lives and left hundreds missing. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)