Italians flock to online campaign to help flood-stricken pasta maker

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A grassroots online campaign to rescue a pasta maker whose factory was badly damaged by floods last week has become an internet sensation in Italy, having drawn Monday more than 93,000 messages of support in little more than 24 hours.

Family-run Rummo has been in business since 1846, and is considered one of Italy’s finest pasta makers. But its headquarters in Benevento, an hour’s drive north-east of Naples, were ravaged by mudslides on October 14-15.

In response, the #SaveRummo Facebook event was created Sunday, urging people to buy Rummo products and post pictures of them on social media. Its creator, 25-year-old Luciano Lobosco, says he acted spontaneously after hearing about the flood damage in the media.

Several high-profile figures, including politicians and chefs, joined the campaign, as well as Italian expatriates in northern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

“We are honoured and moved by so much solidarity,” company chairman and chief executive Cosimo Rummo said in a statement. “A wave of almost four metres-high engulfed all of our production site, but we are working hard to return the factory to normality,” he added.

Two thirds of stocks were spared from floods, while 70 per cent of production should be resumed within four to six weeks, the company statement said.

The situation remains critical in Benevento: following a new weather alert issued Sunday, schools were ordered shut and the city’s industrial area, which comprises the Rummo factory and where 1,500 people work, was evacuated.

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