As Sri Lankans flocked to a jubilant street party celebrating their president's ouster, retired accountant Milton Perera sat at home pondering whether his family could afford to eat the next morning.

Before his dramatic toppling last year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was blamed for an economic crisis that brought food and fuel shortages, blackouts and runaway inflation to the island nation.

But Perera said at the time that with the once-loved leader out of office, the hardships his country had endured to that point would get worse.