We’re deeply concerned as the situation in Israel’s south has escalated and over 400 Hamas rockets have been fired over the last 24 hours at civilian targets.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians in southern Israel spent the night in shelters. In the worst incident, a residential building in Ashkelon was hit by a rocket, killing a 48-year-old man and severely injuring two women. At least 55 Israelis have been wounded as a result of the rockets since the attacks began yesterday.

While Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System successfully intercepted more than 100 rockets that were headed to populated areas, eight residential buildings were hit in Sderot, six in Ashkelon, and two in Netivot.

Residents of the region have been instructed to remain close to shelters; public gatherings have been banned; and kindergartens, elementary schools, and high schools have all been closed with classes canceled for some 200,000 students in cities and towns including Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, and Ashkelon.

We’re grateful for our overseas partners on the ground (the Jewish Agency for Israel, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Israel Trauma Coalition, and our own Israel office) who are all actively responding to urgent needs. They have already reached out to many of the families whose houses were struck by rockets overnight and are providing immediate emergency assistance.

Working closely with government and emergency services operating in the area, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and stay on top of emerging needs.