“In a few day, you will be in Italy, in Europe. Libya is over,” each group of migrants on the boats was told in English or French.
Italy’s coast guard says that in the past two days, rescuers have picked up more than 1,100 migrants at sea, and recovered one body.
The government has promised to rebuild the devastated area but, corruption and organised crime have given Italy a terrible track record for post-quake reconstruction.
The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude while Italy’s earthquake institute INGV registered it at 6.0.
The baby was pulled from the sea last Friday by a German rescuer working for humanitarian organisation Sea-Watch after a wooden boat carrying more than 400 migrants capsized and sank off the Libyan coast.
The Supreme Court had ruled last week he was free to go home at least until Italy’s dispute with India over jurisdiction in the case, which is now in international arbitration, is over.
The migrants – fleeing wars, oppression and poverty – often do not know how to swim and do not have life jackets. They pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to make the crossing from Libya to Italy, by far the most dangerous border passage for migrants in the world.