Krymsk Residents Who Returned 'Excess' Payouts Given Money Back

Eighty-five residents of Krymsk in the Krasnodar region who were forced to return state funds earlier given to them as flood relief have been given back the money, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday.

The total amount of money returned is about 15 million rubles ($500,000).

The scandal over excess flood relief funds began in early January, when dozens of families in Krymsk who'd received payouts in the aftermath of massive flooding last July received letters from the regional administration demanding that they return part of the money.

Officials explained the move by saying there had been several mistakes made in the process of assessing flood damage, causing some families to receive more money that what they were actually due.

News of the demands for repayment prompted the regional prosecutor to conduct a check into the matter, which revealed that 54 of the 161 families who'd received such a repayment demand were actually entitled to keep the money.

President Vladimir Putin soon chimed in, saying in February that any residents who'd been forced to return excess funds should be given the money back, even those who voluntarily returned it.

More than 170 people died in the flooding, and thousands of homes in Krymsk were completely destroyed. The tragedy also provoked criticism of local authorities, with many accusing them of failing to act quickly enough to warn residents of the impending disaster.

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