China’s primary wheat growing province of Shandong is battling its worst drought in at least 40 years, ramping up pressure on already politically sensitive food prices that have been rising for months, AP reported. The drought has affected more than half of the land Shandong normally uses to grow wheat – about 2 million hectares – and that number is increasing. Many areas have not seen precipitation in four months, and 353,000 hectares of spring wheat has already dried up or is starting to fail. This has led to more than 240,000 people and 107,000 head of livestock losing drinking water supply, and a reliance on deliveries from fire trucks. Unusually dry conditions have affected much of China’s northeastern bread basket, including the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Hebei, Jiangsu and Anhui. Soaring food prices sent the inflation rate to 4.6% in December, after hitting a 28-month high of 5.1% the previous month.