Water is still flowing into Edgecumbe after the Rangitaiki River breached its stopbanks, causing severe flooding.
A state of emergency remains in place while local emergency services scramble to keep the situation under control.
Edgecumbe Chief Fire Officer Adrian Massey said recovery work could not begin until the water level resides.
Evacuated residents were facing more than three days without their homes, said Massey.
"The majority of [the evacuated] people have gone in to Whakatane to the War Memorial Hall, where some others are staying with nearby friends and family."