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The death toll from an earthquake that ripped through Nepal will climb "much higher", the government warned Sunday, as relief teams raced to reach survivors of the disaster that has already claimed more than 7,000 lives. Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the toll will jump once teams reached far-flung villages feared flattened in the worst quake to hit the impoverished Himalayan nation in more than 80 years. "The aftershocks have not receded and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher," the minister said, as he appealed for hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations to help rebuild the devastated country. The 7.8-magnitude quake wreaked a trail of death and destruction when it erupted around midday eight days ago, reducing much of the capital Kathmandu to rubble and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.