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More than 70,000 people were evacuated after a strong earthquake left them stranded in southwest China's Sichuan Province, said the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Thursday.

Traffic on major roads linking the quake zone of Jiuzhaigou County with Mianyang City in Sichuan and adjacent Guizhou Province has resumed, according to the MPS.

Police in Sichuan activated a contingency plan following the deadly earthquake.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, about 13,000 vehicles and 71,000 people had been evacuated with the help of 3,675 police.

The 7.0-magnitude quake hit Jiuzhaigou at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday at a depth of 20 kilometers, leaving at least 20 dead and 431 injured, according to local authorities.