Housing is an acute problem in both urban and rural areas. In the rural areas, housing generally falls below even the most modest standards. In the 1970s, about one-fifth of the country's housing consisted of one-room dwellings; in the countryside, most had no electricity. National statistics from 1998 indicate that only about 20% of all residences had access to piped water. In 2000, only about 66% of the population had acccess to improved sanitation systems.
Under the 1970–75 plan, the government left construction of housing to private initiative and restricted itself to activities designed to stimulate house construction, such as town planning and the provision of water supplies and sanitation. The 1975–79 and 1979–84 plans included government construction of housing. The 1984–89 plan had a target of 300,000 units, of which 140,000 were to be provided by the government and 160,000 by private sources. In 1990 alone, 210,000 new housing units were completed and the total number of dwellings stood at 44,855,000 in the mid-1990s.
Floods, earthquakes, drought, forest fires and local communal conflicts continue to result in shelter problems for over one million displaced and homeless residents.