Hundreds of tonnes of mud is being cleared from Pennan after the severe landslides which struck the small coastal village.
All the residents of the Aberdeenshire village were evacuated on Monday after floods caused the devastation.
Diggers have moved in to start the clean-up operation. Officials cannot say how long it will take.
Residents cannot return to their homes until a safety survey has been carried out on the cliffs behind the village.
Some have been allowed back to assess the damage to their houses.
However it may be weeks or months before all of the dozens of people evacuated can be allowed back to their homes.
First Minister Alex Salmond, the Banff and Buchan MP, said, during a site visit, that every effort was being made to clear up the mess as quickly as possible.
He said: "The issues and problems are being dealt with professionally, and we are all working together to help local people."
Aberdeenshire Council officials returned to Pennan on Tuesday to survey damage to buildings. They could not obtain access to some homes initially because of the amount of mud surrounding the walls.
Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Alan Campbell told BBC Scotland: "A huge amount of work was done yesterday by emergency services, the council and indeed the residents.
"Things are settling down a bit. Quite clearly, it will be a while until everyone can get back. Over half the village is okay, the other half has been pretty badly affected."
The mudslide caused water and sewage problems, and Scottish Water said it had been working "round the clock" to restore the mains water supply to the village. Bottled water is being made available.
People who own properties in the village are being advised to get in touch with their insurance companies as quickly as possible, before beginning repair work.
Pennan, and its red phone box, found fame when it featured in the 1983 film Local Hero.