In her outstretched palms, 49-year-old Nilanthi Gunasekera holds her family’s last remaining handful of dried fish – a reminder of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in decades.
She is just one of the millions of Sri Lankans battling a calamitous decline in living standards, as they find themselves forced to skip meals, ration out medicines and turn to firewood in place of cooking gas.
Oshada Fernando played with a home-made kite his uncle fashioned from bamboo scraps and shopping bags. His parents were unable to afford a gift for his birthday last month.
“I was wishing for a racing car,” said the 11-year-old. “I hope at least for my next birthday I get this as a present.”
(Reporting by Kim Kyung-Hoon and Santhush Fernando in Colombo;
Writing by Alasdair Pal; Photo editing by Eve Watling; Text editing by Clarence Fernandez; Layout by Eve Watling)