Edgecumbe residents were fuming this morning as they waited in a long queue to register for access to their homes.
Hundreds of people were stuck in a slow-moving queue at Awakeri School as they tried to meet a midday deadline for registration for 15 minutes of access to their homes to grab essential items such as clothes and toiletries.
Among the most frustrated were residents whose homes are completely unaffected by floodwaters and who have been ordered to evacuate anyway.
Edgecumbe resident Paul Mills said he felt "a very deep-seated anger" at having to stay with relatives in Tauranga since Thursday despite his home being unaffected by the flooding.
He felt as if he was in "an information black hole" amid what he considered to be poor communication from council staff.
John Davis, whose Tauriki Place home was also unaffected, said the 40m-long queue had barely moved 10m in an hour-and-a-half.
He complained that people at the back of the queue could not hear instructions and updates being voiced over a loud speaker.
"This joker who's up here talking, we can't hear a word he's saying."
He was anxious about being able to register before the midday deadline and, like Mr Mills, was frustrated at being forced to evacuate a dry home.
Jonnie Joseph, whose home was also unaffected, said he believed information about the floodwater levels was wrong and the registration process too slow.
"It's been backing up since early, mate," he said.
"It's a local government shambles again."
Council staff set up a second desk to help speed up the queue and Salvation Army workers also helped out. The last of the residents made it through right on midday.
Police Eastern Bay Area Commander Kevin Taylor said a cordon was in place to protect public health and the security of homes.
Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne said contractors were working around the clock and he hoped everyone would have access to homes by Easter next weekend.