12 Dec 2012

Vanuatu capital pays respect to late Iauko

4:07 pm on 12 December 2012

The Vanuatu capital, Port Vila, has come to a virtual standstill as people pay their respects to the late minister, Harry Iauko.

The Minister for infrastructure and Public Utilities, and MP for Tanna, Mr Iauko was rushed to Northern Provincial Hospital on Tuesday morning from a hotel in Luganville and was pronounced dead a short time later.

A spokesman from the office of the Prime Minister Sato Kilman says Mr Iauko's death is believed to have stemmed from complications of pneumonia

Our correspondent, Len Garae, says his body has been lying in state at Parliament this morning, and the Head of State was the first to pay respects.

"The whole country is shocked by the sudden death, and when the body was coming down, being driven from the airport, to his home in the Nambatu area, even though it was heading towards eight o'clock at night, the streets were packed with people standing quietly to show their last respects."

Len Garae says the body will now be flown to Tanna, and it is understood it will be accompanied by the Prime Minister, Sato Kilman.