A TWO-day meeting began on Thursday in Johannesburg, aimed at developing response strategies to the El Nino phenomenon that has plagued the region, the Namibian has reported.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) stakeholders are discussing the harsh weather patterns being experienced across the Sadc region and their results, at the meeting, which ends on Friday.

The meeting was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, in conjunction with the World Food Programme.

At the forefront of the meeting’s agenda was drought and food security, with emphasis on preparedness strategies.

According to a previous News24 report, at least 30-million people have been affected by El Nino in Southern Africa.

The weather phenomenon, which is reported to be the worst of its kind in 50 years, has been gaining strength since March last year and is expected to continue until the end of the year.

Many in the region are also facing the threat of hunger, with Al Jazeera reporting that at least 11-million children will be malnourished as a result of El Nino.

Lesotho, Zimbabwe and most of SA have been declared disaster states, with maize output dropping 30% in SA alone.

Despite numerous calls to the international community for assistance, the region remains in need of aid.