Mark MacKinnon, 2010
When a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Tibetan plateau last April, bringing many of the buildings in remote Yushu County crumbling down, the calls for help went out to the usual sources: the monks in the town’s main lamasery, the massive apparatus that is the Chinese government – and a tiny Canadian-Scottish charity.
The town was devastated, with almost 3,000 dead. Outside help was needed, but the government was nervous about foreigners running around the politically sensitive Tibetan plateau. Among the few outsiders known and trusted by local residents and authorities in Qinghai province was Montrealer Marc Foggin, 40, founder of Plateau Perspectives, a non-government organization that had been working in Yushu for more that a decade. The only problem was that Plateau Perspectives, headed by Mr. Foggin and his wife, Marion Torrance-Foggin, was a four-person organization focused on conservation.